07 May 2007

Why I Hate ATVs [revised]

I hate ATVs ("All Terrain Vehicles"). I know, I know: ATVs don't ruin the landscape, irresponsible ATV riders do. Problem is, the 10% of law abiding ATV riders get a bad name from the 90% who break all the rules.

For the past two nights, I've been dreaming of fox pups. Not cute fox pups cavorting on green grass around the den, endlessly pestering their dam, greeting each new mouse brought home for dinner... Rather, I'm dreaming of wimpering, worried pups slowly starving to death in a cold and lonely world.

You see, the sons-of-bitches who ride ATVs near my house killed the mother fox that, for several years in a row, has whelped her pups in a den that seemed well hidden in a washed out gully. It was a senseless murder. She was not killed for her beautiful winter-prime pelt, by some boy who had studied her habits, who made a well-hidden trap set, and who carefully skinned her carcass. From the appearance of the carcass and the tire tracks, the ATV sons-of-bitches shot and wounded her, and then ran her down and ran her over several times as she tried to seek refuge in the den. Even RTD seemed saddened and mystified by this senseless murder; when it lived, RTD enjoyed seeing and smelling her little canine cousin, and even giving it a brief 100-yard dash for the sheer pleasure of the race.

ATVs promote and enable evil. Kids who would otherwise walk the hills (and yes, perhaps shoot things up with their .22s) can easily cover miles and miles of ground. A passing fox is just another target in the video screen like landscape, and not something that they have any intimate and animal connection to.

ATVs are a tool of destruction. As a machine that cheapens our relationship to nature, ATVs carry a politics all their own. Emblematic of the lazy, fast-paced, superficial outdoors "experience," they transform quiet trails and mountain meadows into a BMX course.

Here is another photo, by Paul Olsen, of a once pristine meadow in the Pioneer Mountains--an area with all the values of a wilderness. Until the ATVs came along.
This is why I hate ATVs.
[Well, after I wrote this I had a nice encounter with a young man. After talking with him, I realized how dogmatic is my opinion, and how I need to revise it. This young man, who is also a father, rides with his kids and parents. They are respectful riders, and they stay on designated trails. They enjoy their submergence into nature -- albeit a motorized encounter -- fully as much as I enjoy my passive recreational experience.
You see, this young man has a physical disability that makes it inordinately difficult to clamber for miles over rocky, steep trails. He is healthy, fit, and strong. He wants his children to know nature, and he wants to experience it with them. Just as my hearing aids and glasses make it possible for me to have a more intimate and genuine relationship with nature, so does his ATV.
While this in no way diminishes the evil that irresponsible ATV riders cause, it does mean that there is a place for motorized trails (and law-abiding riders) in pristine and remote areas.
I apologize to all whom I might have offended and left out by my dogmatic pursuit of nature as a "natural" (unmotorized) experience. Live and learn. - EcoRover]


Nick Hawthorne said...

I could not agree more. ATVs have carved out pathways that never existed on a once pristine mountain. And to see that some individuals killed a mother fox from just sheer malice makes me sick.

Anonymous said...


EcoRover said...

Problem is, the 10% of law abiding ATV riders get a bad name from the 90% who break all the rules.

Anonymous said...

atv riders don't obey no trespassing signs, nuff said.

Anonymous said...

I ride dirtbikes,atvs. They are awesome and fun to ride. How do you have proof that they hit your fox? It could of been an animal or anything out there. The funny thing is is that in Maine there is millions of miles of trails and everyone has an atv. We all wave as we pass eachother on the trails and while riding on the street to a variety store people just wave to you. Because they are not tree huggers and know that ATVs do not kill trees. Thankyou.

Sean said...

Wow, anonymous proves that mediocrity thrives in America today. Yes, anything that interferes with your motoring pleasure is just plain wrong. It's degenerates like you who make this country an increasingly crappy place to live.

Anonymous said...

The fact is that nature was a nicer place before ATVs, jetskis, etc. Motorized toys are simply the playthings of sociopaths-in-training.

viagra online said...

Yeah in some way you right, i prefer to walk in mountains is very funny for me, i really believe that going on car is a waste of time because you can enjoy properly.

Anonymous said...

The problem is hunting clubs not atv riders.
Where i live they have closed down all the atv riding properties to make for hunting clubs. (They make more money from hunters) So alot of people have no designated places to ride, so they get fed up and ride where the know they shouldn't.
Me and my dad got into riding 7 years ago, it is a bonding experience that has no doubt brought us close.
But in the last 7 years we have seen our riding trails get closed of one by one. When we go now we have to drive over 100 miles to an atv park. so we dont go much anymore.
I am a responsible atv rider, i have been pulled over by a park ranger in a park they were converting to a hunting club (with written permission). I was doing nothing wrong and he got out of his truck and starting cursing me and i was only 15 years old, then my dad pulled and started talking to the ranger, there was a heated argument that ensued and we ended up leaving and my dad got the ranger fired for it. if we close all the atv parks this is what happens, i don't like it either.

But your argument is the same as saying 'a dog killed a human, all dogs must die', no its only one bad dog.

Jim C. said...

It's no coincidence that so many ATV-ers disrespect the land and wildlife. It's not just a few bad apples by any means.

That attitude is integral to the whole power-sports mentality, including loud boats and jet skis on lakes and rivers.

It's just a subspecies of humans who think nature is something to be conquered, not respected. You'll find that most of them side with Republican politics, e.g. global warming denial.

Jim C. said...

Anonymous said... "How do you have proof that they hit your fox? It could of been an animal or anything out there."

Yeah, sure. Just like "the Sun causes global warming." Deny, deny, deny. No matter what the proof that the fox was killed by ATV-trash, you'd come up with some other excuses. It's all about YOU having fun by whatever means possible.

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Jon Gies said...

I've been riding quads and motorcycles for 18 years. This couldn't be further from the truth about what riding is about. There are disrespectful idiots, yes, but there's also disrespectful hikers and skiers as well. Signaling out an entire group because the actions of a few individuals is ignorant and narrow minded.
I respect and enjoy nature. I stay on designated trails, and do my best to be cautious of wildlife and sensitive areas. I even pick up trash left behind by others and stive to leave the area in better shape than it was when I arrived.