Tread Lightly

Tread Lightly

Quick Tips for UTV, ROV and Side-by-Sides

To view in brochure format, Click Here.

 

TRAVEL RESPONSIBLY
Travel responsibly on designated roads, trails and areas.
  • Travel only in areas open to utility terrain vehicles (UTVs).
  • It is not appropriate to drive UTVs wider than 50 inches on most designated all-terrain vehicle (ATV) trails.
  • Minimize wheel spin.
  • On switchbacks, avoid roosting around the apex of the turn when climbing or brake-sliding during descent, both of which gouge the trail, causing erosion.
  • Drive over, not around, obstacles to avoid widening the trail.
  • Cross streams only at designated fording points where the trail crosses the stream. Cross slowly at a 90 degree angle.
  • Comply with all signs and respect barriers.
  • Do not carry passengers in the bed of a UTV.
  • Buddy up with two or three drivers. Driving solo can leave you vulnerable if you have an accident or breakdown. Designate meeting areas in case of separation.
  • When winching, always inspect your equipment, use the right winch for the situation, find a good secure anchor and never winch with less than five wraps of wire rope around the drum.
  • When using a tree as an anchor, use a wide tree strap to avoid damaging the trunk of the tree.
  • Listening to headphones or ear buds can make it difficult to hear and communicate with other recreationists. In some areas it is illegal to operate vehicles with both ears covered.
  • Don’t mix riding with alcohol or drugs.

 

STREAMS: Cross streams where the trail crosses the stream at a 90 degree angle. CUTTING SWITCHBACKS: Switchbacks are designed to maintain the stability of a trail.  Cutting them destroys their integrity. OBSTACLES: Drive over, not around, obstacles such as small rocks and logs to avoid widening the trail.

 

RESPECT THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS
Respect the rights of others, including private property owners, recreational trail users, campers and others so they can enjoy their recreational activities undisturbed.
  • Be considerate of others on the road or trail.
  • Leave gates as you find them.
  • If crossing private property, be sure to ask permission from the landowner(s).
  • Yield the right of way to those passing you or traveling uphill. Yield to mountain bikers, hikers and horses.
  • When encountering horses on the trail, move to the side of the trail, stop, turn off your engine, remove your helmet and speak. You want the horse to know you are human. Ask the rider the best way to proceed.
  • Proceed with caution around horses and pack animals. Sudden, unfamiliar activity may spook animals, possibly causing injury to animals, handlers and others on the trail.
  • Do not idly drive around in camping, picnicking, trailhead or residential areas.
  • Keep speeds low around crowds and in camping areas.
  • Keep the noise and dust to a minimum.
EDUCATE YOURSELF
Educate yourself prior to your trip, by obtaining travel maps and regulations from public agencies, planning for your trip, taking recreation skills classes and knowing how to operate your equipment safely.
  • Obtain a map (motor vehicle use map where appropriate) of your destination and determine which areas are open to UTVs.
  • Make a realistic plan and stick to it. Always tell someone of your travel plans.
  • Contact the land manager for area restrictions, closures and permit requirements.
  • Check the weather forecast before you go.
  • Make sure you and each passenger in the vehicle wears a seatbelt, helmet, eye protection and other safety gear.
  • Prepare for the unexpected by packing a backpack full of emergency items.
  • Know your limitations. Watch your time, fuel and personal energy levels.
  • Take an off-highway vehicle driving course to learn more about negotiating terrain with a UTV.
  • Make sure your UTV is mechanically up to the task. Be prepared with appropriate tools, supplies, spares and an oil spill kit for trailside repairs and cleanup.
AVOID SENSITIVE AREAS
Avoid sensitive areas such as meadows, lakeshores, wetlands and streams. Stay on designated routes.
  • Other sensitive habitats to avoid include living desert soils, tundra and seasonal nesting or breeding areas.
  • Do not disturb historical, archeological or paleontological sites.
  • Avoid “spooking” livestock and wildlife you encounter and keep your distance.
  • Motorized and mechanized vehicles are not allowed in designated Wilderness Areas.
DO YOUR PART
Do your part by modeling appropriate behavior, leaving the area better than you found it, properly disposing of waste, minimizing the use of fire, avoiding the spread of invasive species and restoring degraded areas.
    • Carry a trash bag on your vehicle and pick up litter left by others.
    • Pack out what you pack in. 
    • Practice minimum impact camping by using established sites or durable surfaces and camping 200 feet from water resources and trails.
    • Prevent unnecessary sound created by a poorly tuned vehicle or revving your engine.
  • Use proper silencers on exhausts, which meet regulatory decibel levels.
  • Before and after a trip, wash your UTV and support vehicle to reduce the spread of invasive species.
  • Observe proper sanitary waste disposal or pack your waste out.
  • Build a trail community. Get to know other types of recreationists that share your favorite trail.

Want to learn more?  Take the Tread Lightly! 101 Online Course.

For more tips on minimizing impact when four wheeling, snowmobiling, camping and other outdoor pursuits, click here.

Official Partners
See All Partners