Protecting the Trails

Every ATV and snowmobile rider must be an ambassador for the sports. Please give careful consideration to your effect on the trails, environment and others. The future of your sport depends on it.

On the Right Trail - An ethical guide for ATV riders. - Adobe PDF (395 Kb)

Minimizing environmental impact
Every effort should be made to minimize the impact of your machine on the trail and surrounding environment. Using skill and common sense you can negotiate various obstacles and riding conditions that have the potential to cause damage. Remember, areas closed to ATVs and snowmobiles are done so for a reason; please respect these special areas.

The following are some suggestions offered by Tread Lightly! ®, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the outdoors and outdoor recreation through responsible practices:

  • Stay on designated roads and trails or other areas open for use.
  • Avoid "spooking" livestock and wildlife you encounter.
  • Cross streams at designated crossings only.
  • Use existing campsites whenever possible; avoid building fires.
  • Cross obstacles at an angle, one wheel at a time.
  • Don't straddle large rocks.
  • Avoid mud if you can while remaining on the road or trail.
  • Turn into ravines or large depressions at about a 45-degree angle.
  • Straddle ruts, even if they are wider than your vehicle. This will keep your vehicle level.
  • Lower the tire pressure to where you see a bulge in your tire to give you better traction and provide for a smoother ride.
  • Avoid riding the brakes and clutch which can lead to brake failure.


Trail etiquette
Many times ATV riders will come in contact with other user groups sharing the same lands, roadways or trails. It is important to practice common courtesies.

  • Be considerate of others on the trail and keep to the right.
  • Slow down when passing.
  • Ride only where permitted.
  • Leave gates as you find them.
  • Yield the right of way to bikes, horses and hikers.
  • Carry out what you carry in.
  • Wave and say 'hello' as you pass.
  • Report downed trees and trail maintenance needs to land managers


Report illegal riding
If you see someone riding irresponsibly, off-trail or dangerously, try to record the machine's registration number. Report the activity to the local authority with jurisdiction over those lands. Remember, bad behavior by some individuals can harm the reputation of the entire sport.