What Is an ATV Park?

Jeremy Laukkonen

An all-terrain vehicle (ATV) park is a type of outdoor recreation area where certain motorized vehicles can be used. Some off-road parks allow 4x4 trucks, dirt bikes, and other types of vehicles, while others are designed specifically for ATVs. Since many areas have tight regulations against using off-road motorized vehicles on public property, an ATV park can provide owners of these vehicles with a legal place to ride them. Some state and national parks and campgrounds include ATV trails, though privately owned ATV parks exist as well. Permits are often required to ride on trails that are on state or national land, though each ATV park has its own set of rules and regulations.

Permits are sometimes needed to ride the ATV trails in state and national parks.
Permits are sometimes needed to ride the ATV trails in state and national parks.

All-terrain vehicles are motorized vehicles that use handlebars for steering and have seats that can be straddled by a rider. These vehicles are occasionally street-legal, though they are more commonly used for off-road driving. The tires are typically low pressure and have aggressive tread patterns to facilitate riding in rough conditions such as rocky terrain and mud. Many areas have laws that prevent ATVs from operating on public land, and riding these vehicles on private land without permission is typically forbidden as well. ATV parks are one area that people can go to make use of their ATVs.

An ATV park can provide ATV owners with a legal place to ride.
An ATV park can provide ATV owners with a legal place to ride.

ATV parks vary widely in size, layout, and ownership, as some are privately held while others are owned by a government. The simplest type of ATV park is essentially just a bare plot of land that someone has set aside for off-roading. These simple parks sometimes have rough trails cut, though that is not always the case. Some of these parks are informal and free to use, while others require a fee. Local land use codes can dictate the minimum size of an ATV park, require safety measures for trails, or impose other regulations.

Many national, state, and local parks also include ATV trails in addition to other facilities and attractions, such as camping, hunting, and fishing. It is typically illegal to operate ATVs within parks that are not specifically designated for their use, and running an ATV on a hiking trail can result in stiff penalties. Some places have very extensive ATV park infrastructures though, with hundreds of miles of trails over thousands of acres. In states where it is legal to ride ATVs on the beach, an ATV park may also open onto sand dunes, whether or not the beach itself is part of the park system.

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