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Regulating ATV use has long been a troubling debate. One case in Georgia involves crossing rivers or creeks or riding down dried up riverbeds.

The argument for regulating the river crossings is it could be detrimental to the environment, but a better approach than outlawing this is to build crossings or bridges that don’t hinder off-road vehicle use.

Making a fixed crossing point keeps riders from entering creeks and streams at any point along the flow and also narrows the unintended destruction of property and nature. Makes sense.

If you’re riding on private land, make sure you have consent of the land owner first. If he does not want ATVers on his property, signs should be posted and respected and law enforcement should enforce it.

Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue signed a bill in 2010 making riding ATVs in streambeds illegal and is punishable by a minimum fine of $25. House bill 207 was brought/sponsored by Representative Chuck Sims who says he was motivated by the number of children killed in off road vehicle accidents. Not sure how closely these two relate, but make no mistake, it’s a slippery slope to land closures and even more restrictions to ATV use.

There will always be the someone who has no respect for landowners or rules and it passes from one generation to the next so it’s inevitable that in some cases it will continue. However, most riders are respectable and are aware of the area that they are riding in as well as its restrictions.

Be smart and repsonsible. Adhere to signs and the wishes of landowners. Clean up your litter and stay on the trails. Be part of the solution so we aren’t seen as the problem.

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