An ever-expanding army of ATVs is destroying the wilderness as we know it! Not so fast: The Wildlands CPR blog digs into the numbers behind this conventional wisdom and reports that, actually, sales of all-terrain and other off-road vehicles have been declining since probably 2003. ATV advocates haven’t been keen to trumpet this slide as loudly as they hailed rising sales. Why? Wildlands CPR fills us in:
For years proponents of motorized recreation have claimed that the “explosive growth” in the sale of all-terrain vehicles and other off-road vehicles supports their demand that public land managers designate extensive motorized trail networks.
Here in Minnesota, home of Utne Reader, that’s exactly what has happened. Citing rapidly rising ATV sales, industry-backed ATV advocates have pressured the state Department of Natural Resources into creating a large network of expensive state-maintained trails funded by motorists statewide even as the agency fails to enforce existing trail rules and prevent habitat destruction.
The news of declining sales doesn’t make tales of environmental damage by ATVs any less real or alarming—but it does offer hope to those of us who feel that mud-running, root-ripping motorheads are trampling the last bits of wilderness on our public lands.