Retired United States Forest Service employee Ken DeCamp has written an interesting and provocative piece in the Redding Record Searchlight about the damage caused by OHV riders in Shasta and Trinity counties. He even caught one member of the Shasta County Board of Supervisors riding an OHV off-road:
The reason for my amusement stems from an incident I had with one of the board members some time back in Clear Creek Campground, where I found him and three others riding ATVs off-road in and around the campground. I introduced myself to them as a Forest Service employee and explained that riding off-road was not only illegal but that it caused damage to the land they were riding over.
DeCamp then discusses three areas of particular abuse by OHV riders:
1. Highway 299 near the bottom of the climb up Buckhorn Summit.
2. the ends of Delta Toll Road and Slate Creek Road.
3. Backbone Ridge Road and the Jones Valley/Clickapudi Trail area around Shasta Lake.
I don’t have a lot of sympathy for whiners who think their leisure time activities are being abused by government bureaucrats. They bring this kind of decision making on themselves by taking part in illegal activities, by doing nothing to educate abusers about the problems associated with off-roading, by not doing anything to prevent resource damage such as restoring abused landscapes, and by not policing themselves.
I know there are responsible riders and drivers out there, but where are they when it comes to taking responsibility for the actions of so many?
I’ve seen damage caused by motorcycles in many areas of Northern California, damage that has substantial environmental consequences. (I’ve written earlier about OHV access on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest and on the Lassen National Forest.)
What do you think, readers? What rights should OHV riders have? What limitations should be put on off-highway vehicles?