Sunday, June 7, 2009
ATV’s I own one, but I’ve got mixed feelings about ATV’s in general, especially when people cut fences and break down locked gates to access private property. A guy came by one fall before deer season to tell me he’d done me the favor of opening an old trail into my place, and mentioned that someone had cut a fence to get around my locked gate. He’d thought nothing of driving through the cut fence to find a good hunting place. He said a neighbor had given him permission to hunt, but he preferred my place. I told him since the deer were the same on both places, he should hunt there. I fixed the fence, and to his credit, it hasn’t been cut again. Another time, four ATV’s came through a couple days after I’d done some work on a trail. Some fill in a low spot hadn't hardened up before a heavy rain made a foot of muck out of it. The ATV’s made beautiful ruts that caused me another day’s work to fix. I asked the group how they got into the property, and they described a place that had a fence across it. They denied having seen any fence, even though I’d found it intact two days before. I should put up “No Trespassing” signs, one of them told me. They were neighbors. I told them it wasn’t a “No Trespassing” issue - I’d be happy to have them walk the trails to enjoy the scenery, wildlife and the like, but they said, “We don’t walk”. I added a locked gate. Someone later attempted to pry the gate hinges off their posts, but after I fixed it and some trees fell across the trail, they’ve left it alone. There are a disgusting number of gates to maintain now, with one or two broken down every year. But I think I’m wearing out the ATV trespassers. Wildflowers are growing again on and along the trails that used to be exposed stone and dirt when dozens of ATV’s passed through every week, mostly during the night, and at high speed. Click on the picture at top right to see the wildflowers that grow along the trails, and some of the views. My small ATV is a Kawasaki Prairie 360. I use it mostly as a utility vehicle, usually in low range 4-wheel drive. It’s a good hauler, and easier on the trails than the tractor or truck. It also gets into places the truck and tractor won’t go. It hauls stone, gravel and woods dirt from some pretty rough areas for various projects, as well as firewood and logs from where trees and limbs fell during windstorms. I made a small trailer for it, and the trailer adds stability when it’s attached. When the ATV starts to tip, the load behind it holds it steady – you don’t have to be quite so acrobatic on rough terrain, except in keeping the front end down when hauling up steep slopes. There’s a winch on the front, so if needed, I can use that. The picture shows a load being hauled – trailer for heavy stuff and a big plastic footlocker for lightweight items. The box used to slide a bit the way it was tied on in the picture. Bolted in place now, it stays put. Nothing fancy.