There are over fifteen million ATV enthusiasts in the United States, as that number will probably grow in the upcoming years. ATVs are often decried as being harmful to the environment, but that does not have to be the case. In fact, if every rider takes a few minor steps, ATVs can have a minimal impact on the environment. It is everybody's responsibility to respect the environment, so that future generations can enjoy it, and so that public land is not destroyed for everybody by a handful of inconsiderate riders.
Here are some basic tips. First, there are areas and trails that are specifically designated for all-terrain vehicles. You can minimize the impact on the surrounding environment if you stick to these designated areas. Incidentally, the designated areas are also safe for beginners, novices, and children. Also, try to stick in the middle of the trail you're riding. This will decrease the possibility of widening the trail and further encroaching on the surrounding land. When you cross a river, do so at designated crossings. Don't leave the trail to cross the stream at different points. If the trail you'd like to ride is muddy, save that trail for another day when the road is dry. Riding on a muddy trail will create deep marks and scars in the trail that will be difficult to close again. These ruts will only grow with subsequent riders, so it is best not to contribute to the problem.
Always be sure to pack out what you packed in. That includes garbage, parts, and even human waste. You should not leave anything behind when you leave the trail. You should also carry a trash bag to pick up litter left by others. It isn't pleasant to clean up after grown adults, but it is the best way to preserve the trail that you enjoy riding.
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