A Little Respect Goes a Long Way

atvHow we as sportsmen and women relate to the outdoors is important, especially since we are all becoming more aware of environmental concerns. We each play a part in safe and responsible riding and the use of public lands, from those who use off-road vehicles to those who manufacture and sell them. If we want to keep public and private lands open to off-road vehicle use, then it’s necessary to keep relationships good among everyone who shares those lands – private and public land managers, land owners, campers, hikers and the general public. The key to this is common courtesy and consideration.

Educate yourself about the land you ride on so that you understand any restrictions. If trails are provided, stay on them. Don’t ride on private land unless you have permission.

ATVs are designed to be relatively quiet while providing good performance – as long as they are maintained in good working condition. Make sure yours has smooth engine torque and spark suppression. Too much noise can bother property owners and other people enjoying an area for their own recreation, and is stressful to wildlife. Tune it up, so the noise is toned down!

If an area is posted as closed, stay out. Responsible riders obey trail markers and closed signs. And they always leave gates and fences as they found them. This is especially true on private lands where there may be livestock roaming free.

Leave the area in the same condition as you found it. Pick up litter – your own, or what you find along the trail – and carry it out on your ATV. Bring a litter bag with you when you ride, so you can easily tote trash out at the end of the day.

If you encounter the land owners on private land, stop to greet them and do so with your helmet off. A helmet can make you look unfriendly and intimidating. You are on their land as a guest, so your demeanor should reflect appreciation.

Always give wildlife and livestock time to react and a wide berth when you encounter them. Startling any animal may frighten them and cause them to run directly into your path. And show courtesy to those you meet on the trail as well: simple gestures like giving the right-of-way to an approaching hiker or horseback rider, or to another off-road driver. Go the extra distance to always be courteous and show respect to others and to the land.