Living a greener lifestyle and working to protect the environment doesn’t mean you have to give up all gas-powered vehicles. It means making smarter and more ethical decisions with regard to your activities. If you love ATVing, for example, make some adjustments to your accustomed trips to keep the more satisfying aspects while reducing the potential cost to the environment.
ATVs get a pretty bad rap as far as their impact on the environment. The typical ATV is not designed with nature in mind, and it must be admitted that at least some people who enjoy the sport don’t seem to care about their effect the land and air.
The vehicles guzzle fuel, belch fumes and greenhouse gases, and are very noisy, so they scare the wildlife. But you might be able to change the environmental image of ATVs by applying some of the adopting some of the following green tactics.
Keep it Clean and Repaired
The first step to limiting emissions, fumes, and toxins is to keep your ATV in tip-top shape. Clean your vehicle regularly and thoroughly with a pressure washer after any outings, and apply rust-resistant coatings to the metal. Rust is toxic to plants and animals, so you wouldn’t want to leave any of that residue behind when you ride.
It’s also worthwhile to use synthetic oil, because it’s a more environmentally friendly alternative for gas-powered and diesel-powered vehicles. It consists of more natural components and requires replacement much less frequently, which will reduce your oil waste.
When you improve or repair the vehicle, observe proper disposal tactics. Don’t ever simply throw away oil, lead-acid batteries, or other harmful chemicals.
Not only are these materials deadly for the environment, but you can be heavily fined for such practices. Follow the proper ways to dispose of batteries and other vehicle components for the sake of the environment.
Seek Fewer Emissions
Not all ATVs are gas guzzlers. You can purchase all-terrain vehicles that create fewer emissions. Many of the newer models are equipped with technological innovations that convert dangerous emissions into harmless gases.
There are also ways to add these converters to your vehicle as well. Most ATV manufacturers are now producing hybrid or electric ATVs that feature cost-efficient fuel economy and very low emissions.
Polaris, for example, introduced their GEM model, a golf-cart-style vehicle that’s fully electric and offers smart power options for zero emissions. Though it’s not an all-terrain vehicle, it’s set a new standard for the urban ATV.
Now, manufacturers are searching for more eco-friendly options for power sports, so you should take advantage of these models to reduce your carbon footprint.
Respect Designated Trails
Another essential practice for adventurers who wish to enjoy all-terrain sports but with a reduced environmental impact is always to stay on designated trails. These paths have already been cleared of wildlife and plants, so you don’t have to worry about harming anything further
In particular, stay away from wetlands and stream banks. Hundreds of species of plants and animals inhabit these areas, and your presence can disturb and even damage the habitat.
It’s also critical to get permission from landowners and make sure it’s acceptable to ride on a trail in a national park or another public land. Not only could ignoring this step result in a trespassing charge, but it could also create environmental concerns.
Often, areas are closed to ATVs for the sake of wildlife, but not all entrances are marked. Getting permission beforehand means you’re being properly mindful of nature.
Safe and eco-friendly ATVing is entirely possible if you play it smart and prepare your vehicle for the road. You’ll sleep better at night knowing your recreational activities lead to less harm for the environment.