Wildlife Managers Concerned About ATV Use

(AP) St. Paul A conservation group released a national survey of state wildlife and fisheries managers showing that many of them believe all-terrain vehicles destroy habitat and disrupt outings for hunters and anglers. The Izaak Walton League of America, which released the report Thursday, also said those managers indicated that more enforcement was needed. The group called on Congress to look into the issue.

"Off-road vehicles are important to many people's lifestyles both for work and recreation, including many Izaak Walton League members who ride them responsibly everyday in states across the country," said Kevin Proescholdt, director of the national group's Wilderness and Public Lands Program. "However, our survey of agency managers clearly indicates a reckless contingent of riders is harming fish and wildlife habitat and ruining hunting and fishing experiences for many people."

The survey, conducted in July and August, contacted each of the 50 state wildlife managers and each of the 50 state fisheries managers. A total of 34 agencies, representing 27 different states, responded.

About 83 percent of the wildlife managers who responded to the survey said they have seen "resource damage to wildlife habitat" from those vehicles. About 72 percent cited "disruption of hunters during hunting season" as another impact. About 60 percent agreed or strongly agreed that the machines have a negative effect on hunting and fishing and those habitats in their states.