Tread Lightly! Cleans Up King Of The Hammers

Tread Lightly! hosted daily cleanups at spectator areas during the King of the Hammers to help keep the desert clean.

King of the Hammers may be in the rearview for many of us, but we are still seeing the benefits of what Tread Lightly! was able to accomplish at the event. From January 30 through February 6, 2022, Tread Lightly! hosted daily cleanups at spectator areas during the King of the Hammers off-road racing event in collaboration with the Bronco Wild Fund.

Tread Lightly! is a national nonprofit organization with a mission to promote responsible recreation through stewardship programs and ethics education. Tread Lightly!’s educational message, along with its unique training and restoration initiatives are strategically designed to instill an ethic of responsibility in outdoor enthusiasts and the industries that serve them.

The Bronco Wild Fund, Ford’s initiative to help build a legacy of access, preservation, and stewardship. A portion of the profits of every Ford Bronco sold goes directly to support responsible access and preservation of public lands.

A crew cleaning up the desert after a race.
Tread Lightly! organized cleanup during the entire week of King of the Hammers. Tread Lightly!

Each day, Tread Lightly! met volunteers at Chocolate Thunder and Backdoor, two of the main spectator areas at the races, to clean up trash left behind and pack out trash bags from receptacles placed by the Tread Lightly! team. In total 6,075 pounds of trash were removed from the areas throughout the week. Most days, 20 volunteers or more from the off-road community showed up to help clean up.

“The King of the Hammers event is the second-largest Bureau of Land Management permitted event in the country with the potential for high impact on the Johnson Valley area,” Chailenn Young, Outdoor Recreation Planner, Bureau of Land Management said. “Through the work of Tread Lightly! and the event promoter, we continue to see positive work completed during the event and immediately following the event. This work significantly minimized the impact on the valley and actually, resulted in the area being left in a better state following the event, even with the record numbers of attendance this year!”

“It has been wonderful to see the effort Tread Lightly! has put into bringing awareness and education to the public and OHV enthusiasts,” Young continued. “Tread Lightly! inspires people to be good stewards of the land, and King of The Hammers is just one example of how they help put that inspiration into action! We greatly appreciate Tread Lightly! and the event promoter working together to make this possible, and we hope to nurture this partnership so that we can continue these collaborative efforts!”

Two men stand side-by-side holding broken truck parts.
Left over cans and bottles weren’t the only items picked up during the Tread Lightly! cleanups, there were plenty of broken parts as well. Tread Lightly!

This is the fourth year where Tread Lightly! has hosted daily cleanups at King of the Hammers. In 2022, King of the Hammers hosted over 85,000 attendees, but less trash was left in these areas thanks to spectators doing their part each day to pack out trash and leave the desert clean. Much of that success is attributed to the education and communication efforts of Tread Lightly!

“King of the Hammers has been and always will be synonymous with Johnson Valley, so what better way for us to continue to protect the access that we fought so hard for, than to partner with Tread Lightly!,” Dave Cole, President / CEO, Hammerking Productions stated. “Leaving this place better has always been our goal at Ultra4 Racing and we know Tread Lightly! has the same vision. It just makes sense to support their efforts.”

“This wasn’t just about cleaning up the desert during the event,” Matt Caldwell, Executive Director, Tread Lightly! “This is a huge educational opportunity where we can lead by example and show the off-road community what it means to ‘Do Your Part’ and ‘Leave It Better.’ What better place to do that than at King of the Hammers and with the support of the Bronco Wild Fund, how can you go wrong.”

A Ford Bronco SUV parked next to a Tread Lightly banner flag.
Ford has the same mideset as Tread Lightly! as a portion of the profits of every Bronco sold goes directly to support responsible access and preservation of public lands. Tread Lightly!

“We really appreciate Tread Lightly! being part of our event and working to keep Johnson Valley beautiful,” Ryan Thomas, President / CEO, Ultra4 Racing said. “Coming from an off-road family, I’m grateful to know that their efforts will help to preserve off-roading opportunities for my family now and future generations as well.”

Tread Lightly! would like to thank the many volunteers and organizations who helped leave this area better than they found it. And a very special “thank you” to Ford, Ford Performance, and the Bronco Wild Fund for the amazing support of the Tread Lightly! stewardship efforts at King of the Hammers. For more information on Tread Lightly! or to help get involved, be sure to visit their website.