Erosion from all terrain vehicle (ATV) trails on National Forest lands
Foltz, R.B. 2006.
Erosion from all terrain vehicle (ATV) trails on National Forest lands.
Presented at the 2006 ASABE Annual International Meeting. ASABE, Portland Convention Center, Portland, OR. 9-12 July 2006.
Paper No. 068012.
American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. 10 p.
Keywords: All Terrain Vehicles (ATV), recreation, hydraulic conductivity, interrill erodibility, rainfall simulation
The US Forest Service has identified unmanaged all terrain vehicle (ATV) use as a threat
to forested lands and grasslands. Some undesirable impacts include severely eroded soils, user-created
unplanned roads, disrupted wetland ecosystems, as well as general habitat destruction and
degraded water quality throughout forested lands. A study was conducted by the Rocky Mountain
Research Station and the San Dimas Technology Development Center to evaluate ATV impacts.
Trails were classified into one of three disturbances classes of low, medium, and high, based on loss
of litter and vegetation, trail width, and depth of wheel ruts. Following trail condition assessment,
rainfall simulations were conducted to measure erosion parameters on each of the three disturbance
classes. While infiltration parameters decreased with increased levels of ATV traffic, there was no
statistically significant difference among the three classification levels. There was, however,
generally a significant difference between undisturbed and the combined disturbed conditions.
Similar significant differences existed for interrill erosion. In all cases sediment loss would be
expected to increase due to ATV traffic. Information acquired from this study will be used to estimate
ATV traffic induced erosion and assist in the managing of ATV use.
Moscow FSL publication no. 2006e