The sport of ATV riding is grabbing attention nationwide as land managers try to balance its popularity with the nation’s natural resources.
Tread Lightly!, a nonprofit organization that educates people to ride responsibly, has issued some practical tips on minimizing environmental impact from ATVs.
Stay only on roads, trails or other areas designated for ATV use.
- Try to stay in the middle of the trail to avoid widening it.
- Cross streams only at designated fording points, where the trail crosses the stream. Approach the stream slowly, crossing at a 90-degree angle.
- On switchbacks, avoid roosting around the apex of the turn when climbing or brake-sliding during descent, both of which gouge the trail.
- On slick trails, moderate the throttle and use the clutch to gain maximum traction with minimum wheel-spin.
- Try to avoid muddy trails, save them for future trips when they are dry.
- Pack out what you pack in. Carry a trash bag on your vehicle and pick up litter left by others.
- Following a ride, wash your ATV and support vehicle to avoid spreading noxious weeds the next time you ride.
- Observe proper human waste disposal. Bury your waste at least six inches deep and camouflage the hole or pack out your waste.
- Take an ATV training course to maximize safety. Always wear a helmet, eye protection and other safety gear.
Tread Lightly! provides additional tips and materials at www.treadlightly.org.