Off-road vehicle use is one of the most serious threats to wild places, according to a Wilderness Society report outlining the 15 most endangered wild lands in the United States.
Jerry Greenberg of The Wilderness Society says
that although mining and oil drilling industries can't be ignored,
soil erosion and pollution from ORVs are fast-growing problems on
public lands. "These machines - when you see the damage left behind
- it's just incredible," Greenberg says. Sales of dirt bikes,
snowmobiles and Jet Skis have all increased in recent
Marsha Karle, chief of public affairs for
Yellowstone National Park, says inclusion on The Wilderness
Society's list of the 15 most endangered wild lands brings
necessary attention to enforcement problems at Yellowstone. Though
off-road vehicles are restricted to park roads at all times, she
says law enforcement officials are not always present when a
violation occurs. "We just don't have enough people to go around,"
she says. Yellowstone has proposed a ban on snowmobiles in the park
(HCN, 9/13/99: Tempers flare over winter
Greenberg says The Wilderness Society
isn't calling for a complete ban of off-road vehicles, but he hopes
the group's report will raise awareness among managers and ORV
users. Commercials often show riders traveling through untouched
lands, he says, "and we need to get manufacturers to understand
they are selling irresponsible behavior."
Contact The Wilderness Society at 202/429-2642
or visit the group's Web site at www.wilderness.org for a copy of