...or great recreation access vehicle
...or super access vehicle for the disabled...or fantastic workhorse for all sorts of folks.
All terrain vehicles come in all sizes, shapes, and kinds.
However, off road vehicles are never a pest until the ATV encounters a driver who doesn't give a darn about the effects of his heavy use of the throttle or the landowner rights on whose land he rides. He is guilty of trespass, trespassing, driving past no trespass signs, damaging land the belongs to others, in sum just being inconsiderate of the rights of others.
This article is not about the responsible driver.
This article is not about the golf cart.
This article is about the pest, wahoo, the outlaw, the bad few who ruin the reputation of the vast majority of all terrain vehicle owners and users.
PROBLEMS THIS MECHANIZED PEST CAUSES:
- Erosion is Facilitated (dirt loss)
- Violation of Land Rights (trespass)
- Wetland destruction (flooding and erosion)
- Noise pollution (rights trampled)
- Wildlife disbursement (habitat violated)
- and other problems that never seem to pop up
PREVENTION and PEST CONTROL:
POST YOUR LAND using signs, paint, whatever is used in your area for that purpose.
- THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. You must be diligent and repeatedly replace any signs that are removed so that the ATV operators KNOW that an active landowner is somewhere nearby.
- Yes you may have to do it repeatedly. Very visible active land management will cure a significant number of trespasses.
- We are not suggesting that you stand in their way to stop them and talk, but things like mowing the grass, moving the signs around where they enter sends a message that you are watching them and can call the law at any moment.
- ATVers are like leeming mice in that they follow the tracks they can see of ATV's that have gone before them...ruts, bent grass, etc.
- If you can camouflage the tracks (the old trail) just as hikers do when they relocate a worn out hiking trail, you will discover that you will have less or no more ATV traffic because they will have to discover a new way around your land (following the new tracks you left for them?). We really didn't suggest that. Just a comment about a technique we heard about.
- NOTIFY THE LAW with repeated visits (repeated is very important) respectfully asking for additional patrols and indicating that you WILL follow through with legal action, not just drop it after they catch them. If legan action is taken and penalties are applied, call your local newspaper and tip them off to the story and hopefully the experience and penalty will be conveyed via a news article distributed throughout your community.
- NOTIFY THE LOCAL ATV CLUB. Do the research and find out where the nearest local club is meeting then send a formal letter of request to stay out or visit with an officer of the club to request their compliance. They will notify all of their members and begain that chain of information that Mr. Jones land out by that big closed dump is now off limits, or can only be ridden in with prior permission.
- EDUCATE ATVers: Visiting your local high school and grammar schools can be beneficial. Meet with the pricipal, explain your trespass problem and ask if there is any way your land can be included as an example of where a ATVer must not go in the applicable teachers lesson plan.
- ASK ATV and ORV RIDERS TO CALL: Believe it or not, if a sign indicates you may give permission if they whip out their cell which most carry today and call you, most in fact do call at that point. This technique has proven very successful because you now know who they are and you can enlist them to help you patrol the land/trail use.
FENCE THE ATV PEST OUT:
- Barriers on a trail or worn in trespass route do not usually stop a off road vehicle. In fact just the opposite happens. You have built a challenge for the operator to get around or over or under...yes under in a few cases we know of.
- Barriers such as fences around your property do work, but not always instantly. You may have to repair a place several times if the idiot is persistent. But in time you will win because they get discouraged, or grow out of their bad behavior, or they are in jail because their bad behavior was not just exhibited driving an ATV but in their everyday lifestyle.
RETALIATION AGAINST THE ATV PEST:
- RULE #1: Don't retaliate by digging traps, shooting the trespasser, stringing wire, building barriers of nails, wood or god knows what else. IT IS ILLEGAL. IF THEY GET HURT, YOU WILL PAY THE PRICE IN DOLLARS, JAIL TIME, or WORSE.
- Rule #2: The same as rule #1. Do not do it.