CANADA. We are all so lucky to be able to call this great country home. Its vast empty wilderness

is the envy of the global off-roading population, with so few rules and regulation­s for such a great expanse of constantly changing terrain. I know this because I have talked to American, German, English, Icelandic, Aussie and Kiwi wheelers who all wish to one day come and experience the freedom and grandeur of what this country has to offer a person equipped with a 4WD. Being born and raised here, it is something we all take for granted.

Every year, my wife and I gather up what few belongings we own that don’t currently reside inside a storage container, and make an annual pilgrimage to the bottom of the world. Five to six months of the year we live on the South Island of New Zealand, a country that is equally as spectacula­r as our own. These long-term departures open up our minds to the riches we have in Canada, and our freedom to explore.

Everyone has felt it. You take your rig out for a weekend excursion, maybe even just a couple hours, but you get up to a great lookout and think to yourself how beautiful the region is around you. As someone who has spent a great amount of time outside the country, not only do you realize how beautiful Canada really is, but your mind also opens to the realizatio­ns of just how free we really are and just how special it is.

We have the luxury on any given day off, to decide to jump into a 4WD that would likely be confiscate­d by police in some countries, pick a favourite road or trail over public land, and drive as far as we care to go. Should there be the need to camp, simply find a suitable clearing. For many countries I’ve visited, the act of fourwheeli­ng out into the wilderness can be an incredibly costly and bureaucrat­ically frustratin­g pain in the ass that keeps most people who would love to do what we do, away. In many cases, ten different hobby groups are fighting for the right to use a tiny bit of forest over an hours drive from town.

Yes, we have it good. But don’t for a second think it will be that way for as long as there is a Maple Leaf on our flag. Vancouver Island and south-western BC already have a painful amount of gates erected at the heads of so many great trails. Campers – usually not even four-wheelers – turning campground­s into garbage dumps and shooting ranges, turn public opinion against anyone who drives a 4WD.

So, go out and enjoy the freedoms we have, but do not abuse them, because it really doesn’t take much to ruin a good thing. You’ve heard it all before, leave nature the way you found it, pack out all your garbage and put out all your fires, be courteous to other trail users… in short… be good Canadians. Do this, and we will be able to enjoy the lifestyle we love for a long time to come.

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