May 20, 2007

A Few Reasons for Controlling ATVs on Public Lands

Call them all-terrain vehicles, ATVs, quads, four-wheelers, whatever--their reckless use causes problems for the land, for wildlife, and for people who just want to walk in the woods without the sights, sounds, and smells of motorized traffic.

The Durango Herald points out how "elk don't like ATVs."

In heavily motorized habitat, travel and hiding cover are drastically reduced and this essential freedom to roam must be bought by elk at the usurious price of greatly increased physical and emotional stress and social disruption.

"Off-roaders destroy pristine lands," from the Pueblo Chieftain.

Roads are being carved through pristine fields where wildflowers and grasses struggle to grow.

Gates and signs are being cut down, run over, shot to splinters or smashed into pieces.

And from the Denver Post, a suggestion that the all-terrain vehicle is the worst invention of the writer's lifetime.

At the willingly assumed risk of upsetting, even alienating, a significant segment of otherwise sedentary society and the industry it sustains, I'm handing out the award for the worst invention of my lifetime to the all-terrain vehicle.

Yes, I understand that era includes the Flowbee, spray-on hair, aerosol cheese, New Coke, psychic hotlines, Milli Vanilli and "Rocky V."

And the writer concludes,

Meanwhile, a recent analysis commissioned by the Outdoor Industry Association determined that non-motorized outdoor recreation kicks in a whopping $730 billion to the national economy annually, generates $88 billion in state and national tax revenue and supports nearly 6.5 million jobs nationwide. At $289 billion in retail sales in 2005, active outdoor recreation outpaced even auto and light-truck manufacturing by nearly $40 billion.

Most of these articles quote someone from some organized ATV-user group. Those groups may police their members--but from my experience, they probably represent about 1 percent of ATV users.

Hat tip: Mike Beagle at Backcountry Hunters & Anglers.

1 comment:

mdmnm said...

I try to be "live & let live" with respect to other's enjoyment of the outdoors, so long as their recreation doesn't destroy a given resource. That said, I really hate ATVs. Even though most National Forests now restrict off road travel, pretty much every fall I run into someone well off the road on one. The folks who fail to follow the rules with respect to ATV use may be a small minority, but they sure are noticeable. And offensive.