Definition of the problem
An ATV is the greatest pest on the earth. Or a great recreation access vehicle to others. Or a super access vehicle for the disabled. Or a fantastic workhorse for many others.
All terrain vehicles come in all sizes, shapes, and kinds.
Quads, side by sides, four-wheelers, scooters, dirt bikes. Also ATV bikes, off-road bikes, jeeps, ATV 4×4’s, snowmobiles, and the list goes on.
However, off-road vehicles themselves are never a pest
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 is the problem. He is guilty of trespass, trespassing, driving past no trespass signs, damaging land the belongs to others. In sum he is an idiot and 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, the idiots. These are the few who ruin the majority of all terrain vehicle (ATV) owners and users reputation.
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 end popping up)
PREVENTION and PEST CONTROL:
- You must POST YOUR LAND using signs, paint, whatever is legally required in your area.
- THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. You must be diligent and repeatedly replace any signs that disappear 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 amount trespasses.
- We are not suggesting that you stand in their way to stop them and talk. But suggest that mowing the grass, moving the signs around where they enter will send a message that you are watching them and can call the law at any moment.
- ATVers are like lemming mice in that they follow the tracks they can see of ATV’s that have gone before them.
- So camouflage the tracks (the old trail) just as hikers do when they relocate a worn out hiking trail. You will soon have less or no more ATV traffic because they will 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 that many say works.
- NOTIFY THE LAW with repeated visits (repeated is very important). Always ask respectfully for more patrols and indicate that you WILL follow through with legal action, not just drop it after they catch them. If legal action is taken and penalties are given, call your local newspaper and tip them off to the story. Hopefully the experience and penalty will be published 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. Send a formal letter of request to stay off your land or visit with an officer of the club to request their compliance. They will tell all of their members and begin a chain of information that Mr. Jones’s land out by that big closed dump is now off-limits. Or it can only be entered with prior permission.
- EDUCATE ATVers: Visiting your local high school and grammar schools is beneficial. Meet with the Principal, explain your trespass problem. Ask if there is any way your land 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 For Permission: Believe it or not, if a sign indicates you may give permission call you on their cell phone, most in fact do call. 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:
- Do Not Build the Worlds Highest Pile of Logs to block the trail: Barriers on a trespass trail do not stop an 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.
- Be very persistent: Barriers such as fences around your property do work, but not always instantly. You may have to repair a fence several times if your tresspassing idiot is persistent. But in time you will win because they get discouraged. Some 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 across the trail, 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.