« Woman Saves Husband’s Life in California Cougar Attack | Main | Teen Duck Hunters Attacked By Rabid Bobcat »

January 26, 2007

This page has been moved to http://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/field-notes

If your browser doesn’t redirect you to the new location, please visit The Field Notes at its new location: www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/field-notes.

Discussion Topic: Should ATVs Be Allowed On Public Land?

ATV use on public land is a hot topic in the news lately, sparking plenty of debate. Here are just a few recent examples:

From New Jersey’s East Brunswick Sentinel:

Riders of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) frequent the county-owned park's 1,700 acres, trampling plant life and speeding erosion, according to residents near the park. When one trail gets flooded because of erosion, the riders simply create another one through the woods.

From The Honolulu Advertiser:

[Area residents] have had their fill of all-terrain vehicles illegally tearing up and down public beaches along the island's most remote region, inflicting havoc on the environment, endangering the public and flouting the law.

"It's not like they're hiding it," said Jo Jordan, parks committee chair for the Wai'anae Coast Neighborhood Board. "They're blatant. They set up tents, have picnics, and bring their ATVs and big four-wheel drives and spend the whole day. They're brazen about it."

And this from the Opinion page of Minnesota’s PineandLakes.com, in which a hunter complains that only 4 percent of the state’s 1.265 million acres of public land is closed to ATVs:

I'm one of the majority. I hunt and hike without an ATV. I can tell you what the academics and many other kinds of traditional users know: ATV use and a good-quality non-motorized experience are not compatible. ATV traffic displaces the folks who like a high-quality traditional experience. We're in the majority, but so far we have gotten 4 percent, and that is what we call the short end of the stick.

It’s clear enough where the residents and the hunter above stand on this issue. What’s your take? Tell us your opinion below.

Comments

There are plenty of places in the world to ride ATV's but precious few places of wilderness, peace and quite.

Luke

Maybe it would be reasonable to open a small percentage of public lands to ATV riders if you could have some assurance that they would to stay on designated roads and trails. But you can't have that assurance. You can be certain of, rather, is that at least some ATV riders will completely ignore any rules or regulations and do exactly as they please no matter what the consequenses to the land or to other users. The articles linked here are just three of endless examples of that.

Mike Diehl

The problem here is that while most ATV riders are responsible, a few irresponsible ones can do ALOT of damage. Where I hunt, rational restrictions like not driving in washes and not driving "cross country" (not on established USFS roads) are regularly violated by ATV drivers. Not *all* of 'em to be sure or even *many* of them, but enough to do lasting damage to pristine aridlands grasslands.

Andy

I live in Colorado, where we have around 3.4 million acres of wilderness, plus numerous partitions of roadless areas. I hunt on foot on public land(non-wilderness). Here in Colorado, I'd say that it would be absurd to make legislation against ATV's. If someone seriously has a problem with mechanized travel, there is plenty of wilerness to get away from that. Personally, I don't mind the ATVs. The people that drive them are responsible, for the most part, but like Mike said there are always the few that spoil it. Honestly I'd sooner pass a law against horses on public land; they make any decent trail a stinky muddy bog. But it's a free country, I'm just happy I can hunt.

jess

if they would stay on existing roads i figure they can ride all they want

Trent M.

3.4 million acres is one thing...

A couple hundred here or there is totally another.

Not enough of it here in Indiana. Even when you are in the park you can hear the highway.

No need for ATV's in places like that...

In arizona it doesn't make sense to outlaw atvs, hunters need em, otherwise trucks get beat to death, ranchers need them etc. Most use them responsibly and half the roads are creekbeds or old mining roads where april flash floods do the most damage. There are areas that are pretty bad but our DNR does a good job, I don't see too many people violate the rules, other than the sport racers in the desert.

Mike Diehl

Actually, outlawing ATVs *on public land* in Arizona might be a very good thing.

I hunt in AZ, but I don't need an ATV. My truck hasn't been "beaten to death;" but then, I don't drive it in washes (which is illegal, yet many ATV drivers do so), nor cut new roads across open ground on public land (which is illegal, yet many ATV drivers do so). The problem is unique to ATVs; I've seen lots of quads breaking the law, but not yet seen a pickup breaking the law insofar as where to drive.

Then there's the road hunters. Again, almost always ATVs these days, although I have seen a few people road hunting from trucks.

Unit 34A state trust land is particularly problematic with ATV abuse.

Jamie Fox

The banning of ATVs on Public land is a necessary step in preserving the hunting conditions that all need to share. When plants are destroyed and ATVs create unwanted trails, we force and the wildlife deeper into seclusion forces others to use their ATVs to access the animals, thus continuing the problem. This delicate ecosystem already faces endangerment of global warming, pollutants and encroaching development of homes and strip malls. It is my opinion to ban ATV use from public land, if we are to have any recreational or wildlife preserves for our sport and for future generations.

Todd

I live up here in maine. Most of the lans up here are closed to ATVS. We hae A snowmobile trail system which is open to both snowsleds and ATVS because the trails are alreay there its not A problem. And both groups help maintain the trail system which goes all the way to Canada It works out great. No new lands get torn up I think otheres should follow in Maines foot steps.

Todd

Sorry For all the typos!!

Tim

I think they should not be allowed because they destroy everything

The Pawesome

I live in Pennsylvania and it is already illegal to ride ATV's on public land but people still ride them, myself included. I use my ATV for work around the house and occasionally take a leisurly putt on the trails around my house. I don't agree with the legislation but I understand it. It makes me sick to my stomach to see how much damage irresponsible riders have done.

page 77 per your suggtioon web site done. plreae inform when it wil be back pics in mag seem like i am there jjjwant to be ther via video cheo

John From Kimball

I am both a hunter an an ATV owner. I have read many comments posted hear and so I decided that I should weigh in with my own perspective. In Michigan there is designated trails for both atv's and snowmobiles. There is also a few horse only trails. For the most part these trails are well kept by both the state and many private clubs. As with anything there is going to be a few bad apples in the crowd that are going to go out and tear things up! These people should be caught and not just slapped on the hand but instead be fined huge amounts and be given community service to go out and shovle and rake these trails back into shape. Don't punish everyone for something done by only a few. And oh yeah to the guy in Arizona some of the worst damage I have seen was done by trucks with big mud tires.

robert

I live in Idaho, and I own ATV's and I don't want to see public lands closed. Although I feel I'm in the minority because all the lawbreakers outnumber us that abide laws. I use my ATV on "open" motorized roads until I can get into an area where I can start my hunt and backpack into elk and deer country. I find it offending though that most ATV riders ruin it for everyone by bypassing closures, disregarding walk into area's only, and create their own trails on any terrain that won't flip or roll their ATV. An example would be that I had the PLEASURE along with 11 RESCUE personnel packing out one of these fine "hunters" that rolled his ATV trying to get his buck out of the woods. Yes, he traveled into this closed area almost 2 miles and his excuse was that it wasn't his fault he shot a buck so far from a legal road and it wasn't reasonable he should have to pack it out. (I say if it's too far to pack out you shouldn't be hunting there.)The irony of his stupidity was that it put a rescue helicopter, 3 crew members, and 12 of us in harms way to pack him out to safety because he was to LAZY to hunt the traditional way. Now, if his excuse is valid and we allow other ATV RIDERS to ruin it for all of us by driving ATV's into closed area's, then maybe ATV penalties need to be addressed so it's not condusive to break the laws so carelessly. Lets stop slapping these people on the hand and take away their ATV's when they ride these rigs where they are not suppose too. Then we all could "buy" them at the next "BIG BOY TOY" auction sponsored by the local fish and game department. I can hear the auctioneer already, "And here is another ATV confinscated and who's going to start the bidding?????" YES, THIS WOULD BE PRICELESS....

Doug

Here in Utah, the vast majority of the land is public/federal. We have a LOT of land that ATV riders can use that does not interfere with wildlife. However, every year, while bow hunting areas that are supposed to be off limits to ATV use, I have ATV "hunters" spoiling the hunt. I mean, who expects to actually get a shot at a Mule deer off the back of a noisy ATV?!? I think they're hunting more for the excuse to ride ATV's off road than to actually take in the hunting experience. Keep the ATV's on the Moab slickrock and leave the forest to the wildlife!

Mike

Arizona already has a law concerning off-road use of anything with a motor. The trouble is enforcement. As a hunter, I use my ATV in a responsible manner. It gets me to where my jeep used to get me, but with less trouble and wear and tear on the roads, my equipment, or me. And Wilderness areas cut it all off, unless you have a horse or you are hiking. And that is fine by me. Just enforce the jerks that are giving everyone a bad name, and are going to wind up having the forest closed for everyone. Take license numbers, descriptions, etc, and report them. They are screwing the area up for you, your kids and your grandkids.

Ken

I too am a hunter who uses a quad mainly because of of an accident that broke my back and my pelvis years ago and not to mention a heart condition.

I travel lightly and make it a point not to tear up the country side staying on exiting trails whenever possible.

Bringing game back without the quad would be impossible for me especially in the remote areas I often hunt.

I believe what's happened is not so much the use of utility quads but the high performance quads we see screaming through the same trails we use throwing dirt everytime the they round a turn or corner. These riders will create jumps churn mud puddles into quagmires and generally ruin the environment they ride on.

All you have to do is watch some of the shows on TV showing them racing across the desert sand dunes shooting sand sky high into the air.

It is these reckless, disrespectful individuals that are ruining it for all.

Legislation in troubled areas should prohibit those types of machines and only allow slow speed utility quads.

Dave Stanco

SO Lets take ATV,s off public land and while we're at it lets take all snowmobiles as well and while we're at it all dirt bike and mountain bikes and hikers and sightseeers and Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts Jamborees and anybody else thats left because REALLY we all in some way destroy public lands with our use. Lets just put up a sign that reads "keep off the grass" and be done with it.... I ride motorcycles and ATVs and no one should tell me not to use public lands. I ride responsibly and respect evrywhere I ride. Don't make laws to stop me, the legal rider, from using my toys.....make the punishment stronger for those who don't....After all do we take all cars off the road when a drunk driver kills someone, or ban all guns when someone uses a gun to rob a bank.....??????? Lets all work together to educate and catch the bad guys and praise those who get it right.

Dave Stanco

SO Lets take ATV,s off public land and while we're at it lets take all snowmobiles as well and while we're at it all dirt bike and mountain bikes and hikers and sightseeers and Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts Jamborees and anybody else thats left because REALLY we all in some way destroy public lands with our use. Lets just put up a sign that reads "keep off the grass" and be done with it.... I ride motorcycles and ATVs and no one should tell me not to use public lands. I ride responsibly and respect evrywhere I ride. Don't make laws to stop me, the legal rider, from using my toys.....make the punishment stronger for those who don't....After all do we take all cars off the road when a drunk driver kills someone, or ban all guns when someone uses a gun to rob a bank.....??????? Lets all work together to educate and catch the bad guys and praise those who get it right.

Mo

I agree with one of the previous comments that we should go after the people that ruin it for the people that obey the laws and regulations. My family and I enjoy going out to the great outdoors as I am sure other families do too. As the old saying goes, there is always a bad apple in the bunch and they should'nt be allowed to ruin it for everybody else.

Ken

I live in PA just south of Pittsburgh, and I think everyone around here rides ATV's. Almost everyone has one in the U.S. I know that sales are going up and it should, they are great! My wife and 6 year old son ride also. We ride on old mine land, we would ride on dedicated property if we had some, but no luck for anything in PA. I do have all sport quads, we dont need 4x4's here. Most of the land damage here is from trucks trying to go down quad trails. I dont know what I would do if I could not ride, I am too in love with the sport to get out of it and start hunting and fishing. Hunting and fishing are fun if you are retired, but I need the thrill of my atv.

Dave Wilson

Drunk drivers cause more damage than ATV's yet alcohol or cars are not banned. We can't ban alcohol or cars because the public majority prefers to drink and drive. Why can't ATV offenders be penalized on an equal basis as drunk drivers? You get caught, you get punished. All ATV riders don't act this way. By the way, All Terrain Vehicles sticking to roads just doesn't sound right for some reason. Maybe we should use the space shuttle for short commuter flights.

d.andrews

I have 160 acres in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. 4wd trucks tore up the logging road so bad that you could barely walk down the road because of the rutts. I hated to do it, but I gated the logging road at my property line. It took a few years but the road is back in good shape. Now the ATV people think they can go any where they want. They constantly tear up the ground around the gate. I fix it, and next time up its a mess again. At least they don't tear up the roads as bad as the trucks did.




Our Blogs



Syndicate