News & Opinion | July 15, 2018 5:00 am

Why You Shouldn’t Feel Bad About Off-Roading

It is not as bad for the environment as you might think.

A Hummer off road vehicle is driven over a muddy course as it's put through it's paces at "The Offroad Driving Academy", at the Nemacolin Resort and Spa, Pennsylvania. (David Howells/Corbis via Getty Images)
Corbis via Getty Images

One of the biggest misconceptions about off-roading is that people just go out and drive wherever they want, when in reality, all off-roading, whether it be in a truck or on a dirt bike, takes place on designated dirt roads, trails or in special off-highway vehicle (OHV) areas. Outside Online writes that “off-highway” or “off-pavement” would be just as accurate a name. The most important things off-roaders can do to minimize their impact is to stay on those designated areas, which the vast majority of off-roaders do. Outside Online says that most off-roaders are not tearing up fragile landscapes. Meanwhile, another complaint about off-roading is that it burns up fuel. But one of the main reasons people go off-roading is to get outdoors more, without taking an airplane or driving hundreds of highway miles. Though off-road vehicles might use more fuel than an average vehicle, they are used less. And they use way less fuel than an airplane, which would be the other vehicle people use to get outdoors.

Off-roading also just gets everyone outside more, Outside Online argues.

“The people who participate are not who you think they are,” says Duane Taylor, of the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council. “They’re families. They’re people who are visiting remote areas that are virtually inaccessible by any other means. And just like you, they’re people enjoying nature.”