filed under: conservation


All-Terrain Vehicle Sustainability Assessments

Considerations for B.S.A. Councils

The sustainable management of ATV use is an expensive proposition requiring careful design, construction, and maintenance of ATV trails.

by Jeffrey Marion, Ph.D., Federal Scientist, U.S. Geological Survey


JM ATV Sustainable Mgmt for BSA


BSA Councils that are considering ATV programs should recognize that research has shown ATV’s to be one of the most environmentally impacting forms of recreational activity. The sustainable management of ATV use is an expensive proposition requiring careful design, construction, and maintenance of ATV trails. Tight regulation of ATV use, including the amount, locations, season, and riding behaviors is also critical. Most federal and state land management agencies have discovered that they lack the expertise, staffing, and funding to sustainably manage ATV opportunities. The BSA is likely less prepared to accommodate ATV riding without high levels of environmental degradation.

Published November 2008

About the Author

Jeff Marion is a Federal Scientist with the US Geological Survey, and is based out of Virginia Tech as an Adjunct Professor. His research specialty is Recreation Ecology, in which he investigates the environmental impacts of visitor use in protected natural areas, primarily national parks. His research has focused on visitor impacts to trails and campsites and the development of sustainable “Best Management Practices.” He was a founding member of the Leave No Trace Board of Directors, chaired the committee that guided development of the Leave No Trace principles and practices, and authored the LNT Center’s official book “Leave No Trace in the Outdoors.”

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