Driving Nature Into the Ground? Motorized Recreation on Public Lands

by Bill Hatcher “In Colorado, the outdoors is what’s for dinner!” That’s Sherry Ellms, Professor of Environmental Studies at Naropa University in Boulder. I had asked her what motorized recreation says about American Culture. And while playful, her dining metaphor belies our tendency to “consume” nature. In 1991, 11,700 OHVs (off-highway vehicles, such as dirt …

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Driving Nature Into the Ground?

By Bill Hatcher

“In Colorado, the outdoors is what’s for dinner!”

That’s Sherry Ellms, Professor of Environmental Studies at Naropa University in Boulder. I had asked her what motorized recreation says about American Culture. And while playful, her dining metaphor belies our tendency to “consume” nature.

In 1991, 11,700 OHVs (off-highway vehicles, such as dirt bikes, jeeps and all-terrain vehicles, or ATVs) were registered in Colorado. By 2012, that number had grown to over 160,000. 

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