Chris Schultz

Outdoors Column

By Chris Schultz
Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal & Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Minn.

April 8, 2002

Opinions on ATVs running lukewarm to hot

All-terrrain-vehicles (ATVs) or four-wheelers can be great. They are fun, and in many cases practical. Because of that, they have become very popular. So popular, in fact, that the effects they have on our land, especially public land, are in question and are being closely scrutinized and debated.

While the debate at the department of natural resources and state legislature rages on, there are a few common sense things ATV users can do to limit the affects the machines have on our land.

Before I get going, I'll make it clear that what anyone does with an ATV on their own property is their own business.

Moving on, ATV use does have lasting affects on our land and environment. Torn up sod and grassland, trails worn in the ditches, deep ruts left in the soil, and in northern forests areas where the landscape as been dramatically changed by atv use.

A worn trail here and there may not seem like much, but as the machines become more and more popular the affects on the land become larger and more widespread.

First of all, now is not the time to be tearing around with that ATV. The ground is soft and fragile. Ruts dug into the mud and sod will not go away over the course of time and that damage may last for a long time on the land and in the minds of those who do not like ATVs.

Secondly, private land is still private land. Like hunters, ATV users need to have permission to be on it.

It's simple, ask before you drive.

Finally, do not put the two together. I'm a rural property owner, and unwanted ATV use bugs the heck out of me, especially when the ground is wet, soft, and fragile.

Just like hunting, fishing, and other outdoor sports, ATVs and the future of the sport depends mostly on those who participate in it.

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