Letters: Wary of more ATV access
Wary of more ATV access The ATV lobby has advocated the development of a 70-mile ATV trail in northern Becker County for the following reasons: there are a lot of ATVs out there, ATVers need places to ride and ATVs are much like snowmobiles. Acco...
Wary of more
The ATV lobby has advocated the development of a 70-mile ATV trail in northern Becker County for the following reasons: there are a lot of ATVs out there, ATVers need places to ride and ATVs are much like snowmobiles.
According to the ATV lobby:
1) About 270,000 ATVs are registered in Minnesota so there are a lot of ATVers out on the roads and trails. However, according to Tim Tiller, president and CEO of Polaris Industries, "About two-thirds of the ATVs sold are actually sold for a work application... that's where the vast majority of ATVs have been used and are used... The recreation market is about a third of the total ATV industry." (July 19, 2004, Minnesota Public Radio.) So, according to Polaris, of the 270,000 ATVs registered, only 90,000 are used on trails, which aren't many in a state of 5 million people.
2) Damage and trespass could be alleviated by developing more trails because ATVers need more places to ride. Last year, 74 percent of state forestland was opened to ATVs (about 3 million acres) and as of Aug. 1, 2005 ATV riders "can go on any visible trail, even if it's not part of a designated trail system." (Quote from the Aug. 25, 2004 Pioneer Press.) Furthermore, the DNR estimates there are 11,000 miles of these unofficial ATV trails across the state. How much is enough?
3) ATVs are basically just like snowmobiles. If this is the case, why don't the ATVers build a network of trails on a combination of public and private lands like the snowmobilers? Because private property owners and even the snowmobile clubs do not want ATVs on their trails. So, it makes sense the public is wary of increasing ATV access to public land.
My family has owned property in northern Becker County for almost four decades and I expect to own that parcel someday. This is where I learned to hunt and fish and ride snowmobile. The ATV lobby needs to be more realistic about their sport and its impacts. It appears their passion and desire compel them more than the evidence.