ATV abuse unabated

ATV damage on the trail to Gull Lake. Photo by Phil Brown.
ATV damage on the trail to Gull Lake. Photo by Phil Brown.

The first time I hiked to Gull Lake in the Black River Wild Forest I was appalled at the damage to the trails caused by the illegal use of all-terrain vehicles. That was more than ten years ago. This past Sunday, I went for a morning run on these same trails and discovered that nothing has changed.

The photo above shows just one of numerous mud swales I encountered on my eight-mile jog. Not only do the machines create giant mud puddles, but they also double, triple, or quadruple the width of the trail in places.

It’s a shame, because these trails in the western Adirondacks are otherwise a pleasure to walk or jog. They’re mostly flat and follow old roads, ideal for people with kids or people who aren’t interested in climbing mountains.

Whatever the state is doing to protect the Forest Preserve from ATV trespass, it isn’t working in the Black River Wild Forest.

About Phil Brown

Phil Brown edited the Adirondack Explorer from 1999 until his retirement in 2018. He continues to explore the park and to write for the publication and website.

Reader Interactions


  1. Scott Thompson says

    Make it clear where they are allowed and fine the heck out of those who ride where they are not supposed to. Phil, those trails won’t look much different than popular foot trails when they dry up. DEC should also require wide, smoother tires like they do for drive on fishing beaches.

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