Reckless off-roaders called scourge

From the LA Times, June 29, 2007:

Riders who stray from legal trails damage watersheds, help spread invasive species and contribute to fire hazards, a group says.
By Alison Williams, Times Staff Writer
June 29, 2007

A new group of retired land managers and forest rangers said Thursday that reckless off-road vehicle recreation was the No. 1 threat to public lands in the West.

The 13-member Rangers for Responsible Recreation said it was voicing the concerns of many federal land management employees in the West, including in California, who report that an increasing number of riders and the growing power of the vehicles are endangering natural resources and public safety.

Spokesmen for the group were participating in a teleconference from Tucson that was arranged by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. PEER, which describes itself as an “alliance of local, state and federal resource professionals,” helped found the new organization.

Damage from off-road vehicles is worst when riders leave designated routes and head into sensitive areas such as fragile desert and riparian zones, members of the new group said.

Read the whole story here.

Goto the PEER site and send a message to your representative.

Read an editorial from the Salt Lake Tribune supporting the PEER efforts, that concludes:

“ATV groups rightly say peer enforcement is key, but obviously that isn’t enough. Only tough laws that are enforced can keep ATV scofflaws on the straight and narrow.”