Outdoor recreation: Two-wheeled off-road safer than ATVs

Review shows ATV crashes much more likely to kill or injure than dirt bikes-

This is probably a big surprise. It is to me. I broke my collarbone on a dirt bike way back in ’84.  I didn’t ride them again.

Surprise: Two Wheels Safer Than Four in Off-Road Riding and Racing, Study Finds. ScienceDaily.

Western dust storms are increasing

Livestock, off-road vehicles, oil and gas road development are major culprits-

The Western United States is naturally dusty, right?

With the exception of some dry lake beds and parts of very hot deserts this is not true.

Soil is held in place from the wind by vegetation and rock. Anything that reduces the ground cover to dirt will result in it blowing away in the wind. Even deserts where there appear to be wide barren spaces between plants are not naturally bare. Desert soil is naturally covered by a microbiotic crust. This holds the dirt down except in the strongest winds. Unfortunately, hooves and wheels destroy this crust.

Microbiotic crust. Great Basin

Microbiotic crust. Great Basin. Copyright Ralph Maughan

I took the photo above in early April near Pocatello, Idaho, along an old road bed. The road had been closed for 3 years and the area had never been grazed. The road used to produce big clouds of dust. Now that it has largely filled in, it doesn’t.

Story in the Washington Post. Dust Storms Escalate, Prompting Environmental Fears. Increase in Dirt Affects Ecosystems In Western States. By Juliet Eilperin Washington Post Staff Writer

Bill proposes stiff fines for off-roading on closed lands

This is a turn of events regarding OHV’s and the minimal fines that have been applicable in Montana. Currently fines are roughly $50 per offense, this Bill proposes $500 and jail time.

Bill proposes stiff fines for off-roading on closed lands. By Kahrin Deines. Montana Standard.

Off-road vehicle use fuels tension, violence across U.S.

Most violence over private property and those who try to enforce the law-

This is according to USA Today. By Emily Bazar.

Off-road rage

More people, more off-roaders (50 million?!), more off-road rage – standardNET

[Utah] Off-road activist says he’s tossed in the towel

Off-road activist [Huck] says he’s tossed in the towel. He declares, after ruling, he’ll no longer fight wilderness designations. By Patty Henetz. (link expired) The Salt Lake Tribune. Note the SLT link died, but a found an active link at an off-road activist site.

“It’s like battling the Borg: Resistance is futile,” Huck said during a phone call from Blue Notch, a desert region near Lake Powell’s Hite Marina where he was dirt-biking with his family. “We might as well just designate all of Utah wilderness now and get it over with.”