Imagining an off-roading club in the middle of Long Island, New York takes a little bit of mental gymnastics!
When Easy Off-Roading first heard about Long Island Off-Road Inc., our minds didn’t instantly go to driving off-road trails. Instead, the words conjure images of the South Shore, Long Beach, The Hamptons, Long Island Expressway, and of course New York City.
But having an off-roading club in such as setting is kind of a blessing in disguise. Long Island Off-Road, Inc. is situated in Suffolk County, NY and offers New Yorkers an opportunity to get a taste of the adventure that comes with off-roading.
Despite not having access to public off-roading trails in their nearby vicinity, the club still manages to publish – and stick to – a heavily-scheduled calendar with plenty of opportunities for members and non-members to meet, greet, and eat!
Much like any avid off-roading enthusiast, Greg P. found himself in search of a formal group that would provide more off-roading opportunities for him and his friends. But most of all, he was looking to be a part of a larger community that shared his passion for cruising his rig across off-road trails of all kinds.
When that didn’t happen, Greg and some of his like-minded friends decided to lay the foundation for a club that met and exceeded their off-roading expectations.
That was in 1993. Over the years, Long Island Off-Road, Inc. has turned into a formal group that welcomes members from all over Long Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.
Facilitating Riders’ Quest for Adventure
Long Island pizza is the bread that holds this club’s activities together. Every month, members convene at a local pizzeria or restaurant to hash out business over a full-course dinner. It might be the other way round where the club actually meets for dinner and have the business meeting somewhere in between.
In the club’s own words, “they just might be an eating club with an off-road problem”.
Regardless, they welcome anyone interested in giving off-roading a try. Whether someone already owns a rig and is a pro off-roader or a stock vehicle owner/newbie with no clue how to go about turning this interest into a full-blown hobby, LIOR opens its rides for all – most of the time.
Scott Kraniak commented:
“I have not been a member for long but a few things I have noticed about the Long Island Off-Road Club is that they are patient, they are kind and they are some of the nicest people I have ever met. They are organized, they out safety first and they care about everyone, from those with the most advanced vehicles to beginners. I have never felt more welcomed and embraced.
To be brutally honest they are some of my favorite people I have met in my 58 years on planet earth.”
Unlike other clubs down south, LIOR doesn’t have ready access to off-road trails in Long Island. Members have to drive at least 3 to 4 hours to find the right trails. That’s why their rides are typically 2-day affairs.
They book lodging or campsites for all attending and then make their way to the trails, brunching and lunching along the way.
Maintaining Strong Coalitions and Relationships
Besides Tread Lightly, the club is associated with the Northeast Off-road Vehicle Alliance (NOVA) and the Northeast Alliance of 4 Wheel Drive (NEA4WD) Clubs. Both of these regional coalitions allow LIOR to maintain strong relationships with private landowners and stewardship.
This allows them to still have their off-roading fun while demonstrating safety, and respect for the trails, property, and their owners. In turn, the club donates a nominal fee to these landowners so they can continue having their adventures. The club also makes sure that they pack out more than they came in with i.e. they pick up trash and try to keep the trails clear and clean as much as possible.
The club does use a few public trails in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania such as the Rausch Creek Off-Road Park and Anthracite Off-Road Adventure Area. You can also join members on long-distance rides to Moab, Sand Hallow, and other popular off-roading spots.
One thing to keep in mind is that due to insurance restrictions, non-members are limited to just one ride and one meeting before they can make a commitment and join for permanent membership.
Besides their regular monthly rides, the club plans three other big annual events that get many off-roading enthusiasts down to the trails.
- The Ted the Fed Tribute Run is held in honor of a long-standing member. This run happens during the winter, which turns outstanding when it snows.
- The Willie V. Memorial Campout takes place on the club’s 2500-acre private property in the Catskill Mountains.
- And lastly, their most-attended event, the Harvest Special Run takes place every fall in Massachusetts, surrounded by foliage throughout New England.
In addition to annual rides, the club also hosts two social events per year. There is a summer barbeque/pool party (they do like to socialize over food!) and a Holiday Party where Annual Wheeling Awards such as Wheeler of the Year and New Member Most into Wheeling are handed out.
Stickler for Training
One of the things that grabbed our attention about LIOR was how they handle their newbies.
The club goes on rides of varying difficulties, from stock-friendly green trails to hardcore red trails. To make sure first-timers and amateurs know what to expect, each ride and event is rated.
Besides that, every new member gets their rig inspected by one of the club’s senior members. They make sure that the vehicle is fit for off-roading and has the basic necessities such as seatbelts, battery tie-downs, recovery points, excellent tire treads, etc.
Dedicated to their member’s safety, the club has established a relationship with the Northeast Off-Road Adventures (NORA4x4). NORA4x4 is an off-road driving school where I4WDTA-trained instructors (some members are trail guides there as well) talk about basic and advanced driving techniques and vehicle recovery.
Plus, spotters and trail leaders are specially trained and advised to keep an eye on newbies in case they need guidance or assistance on difficult trails.
Dmitri Kolm Commented:
“I am a Deaf off-roader! Thanks to the club LIOR that gave me the opportunity to explore nature and meet more people. The club LIOR proved that Disabled people can ride extreme off-road trails. The team of LIOR is very confident professionals who know OFF-ROAD Extreme life! GO LIORERS!“
Doing their Part
LIOR off-roading club is also relatively active within their community. Besides a few charity events, the club hosts toy, ,food and coat drives for various organizations such as the Veterans Org, Toys for Tots, Northport Veterans Administration Home, VA Home, Harry Chapin Food Banks, and various other food banks and Animal Shelters.