You've heard of four-wheeling and ATVing, but have you heard of Jeeping? Off-roading enthusiasts are taking modified Jeeps out to the desert and driving around and on top of giant boulders. It might sound like fun, but what is this doing to the landscape?
"I just like the peace, looking at the beautiful scenery that's out here," said avid Jeeper Chris Radoccia. "It's kind of just a way to recharge." Radoccia is serious about his recreation. He's apart of a group called Arizona Off Highway Vehicle Coalition and they said Jeeping is blowing up.
"We're seeing more of it in our local areas because going far away costs too much money," Radoccia said. He took us our on a trail on Table Mesa Road north of the Valley to show us what these jeeps can do. It's called rock crawling, and there are several trails all over Arizona that allow it.
"One thing you can't do is get this excitement, this feeling and this thrill at a desk at work," said Jeeper Robert VanSickle.
Sometimes the Jeeps suffer some bumps and bruises, but for people like Nena Barlow, who owns Barlow Jeep Rental in Sedona, it's not an issue.
"I'm in the rental business, so I'm really good at hiding damage," Barlow said, laughing.
Radoccia said they go out on weekends and make it a family affair. And while he says they do everything by the book to stay safe, not everyone is driving in the same lane.
"There's always a percentage of people that just don't feel like the rules apply to them," Radoccia said.
Oftentimes people go out without wearing seatbelts and go off-trail.
"The injuries that I've come upon, there's usually alcohol involved," Barlow said.
They also see a lot of littering and even dumping.
"People come out here and dump refrigerators, they'll drop treadmills, recliners," Radoccia said.
So while these Jeeps are modified to endure this rough-and-tumble ride, what about the land?
"We see a lot of damaged saguaro and cactus and desert vegetation that are damaged and some of these areas are sensitive to desert tortoise habitat," said Bill Gibson with the Arizona branch of the Bureau of Land Management. He said Jeeping is only allowed on designated trails - trails that were washes, or used for mining and ranching. If not, you're treading on rough terrain.
"These are areas where's there's endangered fish species and sensitive vegetation," Gibson said.
Gibson said during droughts it can take years for these areas to recover, so they are pretty big on enforcing the trail uses. And Radoccia said they're sticklers for the rules, too, because they want to be able to continue doing what they love.
"I just love seeing it grow," Radoccia said. "I hope it continues. It's a lot of fun and I hope more people get the chance to experience it."
The Bureau of Land Management and the Game and Fish Department have people patrolling the public lands and say you'll be cited if you're littering, dumping or riding off-trail.
Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Sunday, May 19 2013 1:01 AM EDT2013-05-19 05:01:02 GMT
Crash victim Juan Rodriguez with his fiance Amanda Lujan.
You hear a lot about deadly accidents involving motorcycles A Valley couple wants to share their story in hopes drivers will pay more attention to bikers on the road. "The fourth of July, Juan proposed,More >
You hear a lot about deadly accidents involving motorcycles. A Valley couple wants to share their story in hopes drivers will pay more attention to bikers on the road.More >
Sunday, May 19 2013 10:54 AM EDT2013-05-19 14:54:18 GMT
Scottsdale police say a body found in a canal has been identified as a man who was reported missing after he failed to return from a bicycle ride earlier this week. A police officer discovered the bodyMore >
A police officer discovered the body of 78-year-old Edward Allan Brawley on Saturday morning near Hayden Road and Indian Bend.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >
Savannah Nash celebrated her 16th birthday last week. She died Thursday when her car slammed into a semi while she was texting during her first time driving by herself.More >
Tuesday, May 14 2013 8:25 PM EDT2013-05-15 00:25:14 GMT
Amy's Baking Company was featured on Kitchen Nightmares season finale, and let's just say things didn't go well. For the first time in the show's history it's host, Gordon Ramsay walked away. The showMore >
Scottsdale restaurant owners made a big splash on national television for being impossible to work with, and now it appears they've taken their bad attitudes to the internet. Or have they?More >
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:40 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:40:44 GMT
Fallen first responders
A 23-year-old firefighter is in surgery at St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix. Officials told CBS 5 he is in extremely critical condition after being crushed between two fire vehicles. The firefighter wasMore >
Phoenix police officer Daryl Raetz, 29, and Phoenix firefighter Bradley Harper, 23, died within six hours of each other from injuries suffered in two separate incidents.More >
Saturday, May 18 2013 11:06 PM EDT2013-05-19 03:06:03 GMT
The mayor of Phoenix is calling Groceries for Guns the largest buyback program in state history. In fact, Greg Stanton said nearly 2,000 guns are now off the street and unable to fall into the hands ofMore >
The mayor of Phoenix is calling Groceries for Guns the largest buyback program in state history. In fact, Greg Stanton said nearly 2,000 guns are now off the street and unable to fall into the hands of criminals.More >
Wednesday, May 15 2013 2:57 PM EDT2013-05-15 18:57:11 GMT
The old saying goes, "If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen." Perhaps, this applies to Kitchen Nightmares, as well. An Arizona bakery was featured on Friday's episode of the Gordon RamseyMore >
The old saying goes, "If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen." Perhaps, this applies to Kitchen Nightmares, as well.More >