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Tread Lightly! On ATV Trails

Aug 17, 2007
While ATV can be an invaluable tool in work, ATV in sports is so much fun when you are in off-road, meaning you are in a rugged terrain without roads. Thats why ATV racing often happens on trails in an unpopulated land. Contrasting since utility ATVs are widely used in farms where it is a tool to boost nature, sports ATV are known to destroy nature by overuse.

Environmentalists criticize that excessive use of ATV trails could result in ecological damage. The deep threads in an ATV tire, which is useful in navigating rough terrain could also dig channels in an unpaved trail, drain swampy areas, and increase the sedimentation of streams.

To combat these criticisms, ATV advocates organize themselves into groups dedicated to purchase property intended for ATV trails and educate other riders about responsibility in driving.

One such organization is the Tread Lightly! a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower generations to enjoy the outdoors responsibly through education and stewardship. The organization started in 1985 when the US Forest Service launched a program to address concerns about the impact bought about by the increasing numbers of recreation visitors. In 1990 the responsibilities were transferred to the private sector which made Tread Lightly! a non profit organization.

Tread Lightly! has made several guidelines for responsible ATV driving. The following guidelines fall under the heading Travel and recreate with minimum impact in their brochure.

* Stay on designated ATV trails. Travel only in areas open to ATV use.

* On slick ATV trails, moderate the throttle and use the clutch to gain maximum traction with minimum tailspin.

* On switchbacks, avoid roosting around the apex of the turn when climbing or brake-sliding during descent, both of which gouge ATV trails.

* Cross streams only at designated fording points or where ATV trails cross the stream. Avoid riding in meadows and marshy areas.

* When winching always inspect your equipment, use the right winch for the situation, find a good secure anchor, and never winch with less than five wraps of wire rope around the drum. When using a tree as an anchor, use a wide tree strap to avoid damage to the trunk of the tree.

* Maintain the natural silence by preventing unnecessary noise created by your vehicle

* Practice minimum impact camping by using established sites, camping 200 feet from water resources and trails and minimizing use of fire and observe proper sanitary waste disposal by burying waste 6-8 inches deep and at least 200 feet from trails, campsites and water resources or pack your waste out.

These next guidelines falls under the heading Respect the environment and the rights of others which addresses the concerns of the private landowners.

* Be considerate of others on the road or trail. Ride only where permitted.

* Leave gates as you find them. Respect private land.

* Yield the right of way to those passing you or traveling uphill. Yield to mountain bikers, hikers, and horses.

* Keep the noise and dust down

* Pack out what you pack in.

These next set of guidelines all under the heading Educate yourself by planning before you go

* Obtain a map of your destination and determine which ATV trails are. Make a realistic plan, and stick to it. Always tell someone of your travel plans.

* Contact the land manager for area restrictions, closures, and permit requirements.

* If crossing private property, be sure to ask permission from the landowner(s).

* Check the weather forecast and prepare for the unexpected by packing a small backpack full of emergency items.

* Wear a helmet, eye protection, and other safety gear and try to buddy up with two or three riders. Riding solo can leave you vulnerable if you have an accident or breakdown. Designate meeting areas in case of separation.

* Know your limitations. Watch your time, your fuel, and your energy. Dont mix riding with alcohol and/or drugs.

* Understand how to operate your vehicle and its controls.

* Make sure your vehicle is mechanically up to task. Be prepared with tools, supplies and spares for trailside repairs.
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