Responsible ATV practices

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Learning the basics of “green” driving

Backcountry roads and trails are ideal for your ATV outing, whether you’re using your vehicle for hiking, fishing, hunting or any other recreational activity. You may also be using private, public or park areas, which means that being environmentally responsible should be at the top of your priority list.

By taking those extra steps, you can reduce your carbon footprint and conserve our planet’s precious natural resources. Here are some good pointers to keep in mind.

Buying your ATV
Green-friendly maintenance
Driving with respect
Respect wildlife
Build a positive relationship with others

Buying your ATV

Green-friendly maintenance

If you are systematic about maintaining your ATV , your vehicle will perform better. You’ll also burn less fuel and make less noise. Keep these tips in mind:

Driving with respect

If you get to know your environment and focus on being courteous, you’re already well on the road to being a responsible driver. Here are some basics to consider:

  • Check a map and see exactly where you are going. This way you can avoid crossing any areas that are environmentally sensitive, such as marshes and meadows.
  • Be sure you know about any restrictions, particularly government- designated environmentally- sensitive areas.
  • Never run over young trees, shrubs and grass.
  • Don’t block trails when you stop your ATV; there may be hikers and campers behind you.
  • Stay away from wet roads which are easily damaged by ATVs. This is particularly important in busier periods such as hunting season.
  • Never blaze new trails with your ATV; this could heavily damage any forest life.
  • Avoid spinning your wheels on any terrain; this cuts down on any damage to the terrain.

Respect wildlife

While driving your ATV, you may come across wildlife in park areas, horse trails or even livestock from local farms. Consider these tips:

  • If you encounter horses and riders on trails be courteous. They should be given the right-of-way.
  • Avoid startling cattle; give them the time to move off your trail.
  • If you find an open or closed fence on a farmland, leave it that way.
  • Never feed any wild or farm animals.
  • Respect signs that identify endangered animal species; you’ll often see trail markers.

Build a positive relationship with others

When you’re driving your ATV, particularly in park areas, you should also develop a positive rapport with other people you encounter, such as landowners, campers and hikers.

  • Get permission to use any property, public or private. Many parks strictly prohibit the use of ATVs inland but will permit it on roadsides.
  • If you come across campers and hikers, be as quiet as possible and respect the fact that they are there to escape noisier city life.
  • Be friendly with people and share environmental tips.
  • Pick up any litter and don’t leave garbage behind; be sure you leave the site with what you bring.