Off-Road “Wreckreation” Plagues Public Lands
Off-road vehicle abuse is a growing problem on our public lands. On any given day, there are reckless riders tearing up fragile lands and streams and creating chaos.
Reckless off-roading is creating a backlash among many public land users, including those who enjoy viewing wildlife, conducting archaeological research, hiking, camping and hunting. Besides causing extensive damage to natural and cultural resources, off-road vehicles are becoming an increasingly severe public safety and law enforcement problem, and taxpayers will be stuck with the bill to clean up their mess.
PEER has worked to draw attention to the growing threat posed by off-road vehicle misuse and to assist overmatched state and federal land managers.
Roadmap to End Wreckreation
America needs a strategy to cope with the burgeoning safety and eco havoc wreaked by an explosion in off-road vehicle use and abuse on our public lands. PEER and Rangers for Responsible Recreation propose that we begin with three simple steps:
- Penalties that Deter: Today’s infraction fines for off-road abuse are inadequate. Reckless off-roading should be punished by loss of hunting and fishing licenses as well as confiscation of vehicles when off-roaders are caught destroying property or ignoring the law, just as we confiscate weapons when people are caught poaching. Repeat offenders should face suspension of riding privileges, fishing and hunting licenses and, where appropriate, jail time.
- Tough Enforcement: Enforcement against off-road abuse is taking an ever larger toll on over-stretched rangers. Off-roading is fast becoming the number one law enforcement problem on our public lands. Congress and state legislatures need to immediately augment their affected public lands law enforcement budgets. In addition, they should also empower other public lands agency officials to issue citations.
- End Hidden Costs to Taxpayers: Taxpayers are footing the bill for the damage and havoc caused by reckless off-roaders. As yet, we do not know the full extent of these costs. Congress needs to conduct a thorough investigation and enact common sense solutions to the growing off-road problem.
Water & Brimstone
“Water and Brimstone” is short film by Genuine Human Productions and a work in progress. Environmental scientist Barry Sulkin begins to study the impact of recreational ATV activity on the rivers and creeks that feed into the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River, a protected national treasure. Unregulated and unrelenting ATV traffic is also destroying adjacent Scott County land that has been in the Morrow family for generations. This short is intended to be the catalyst for increased awareness and control of this activity on our natural areas. Learn More>>
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