ATVs, UTVs, 4x4s
Motorized Use at Rampart
When the Rampart Range area began, we were the Rampart Range Motorcycle Management Committee, because there was no such thing as an ATV or UTV. All the trails were created for and by motorcycle riders because that was the only type of vehicle available. As the popularity of 3-wheeled, and soon after, 4-wheeled ATVs began to soar in the 1980’s, things began to change at Rampart. At first, there were only a handful of trails accessible to the new forms of recreation. Over time however, the trails began to widen to accommodate the larger vehicles.
Now we are the Rampart Range Motorized Management Committee and we welcome the participation of our fellow off-road enthusiasts whether they have 2, 3 or 4 wheels. Even though we ride different machines, we all have a common goal: keep riding opportunities open. This can best be realized by participation in the programs we support that keep Rampart available to all of us. This includes work parties, monthly meetings, and of course respecting the rules of the trail. There are many ATV oriented clubs around, but the RRMMC is the one to be involved with if you want to be hands-on with keeping Rampart open.
Respect Trail Designations
Today, ATV traffic is as common, or perhaps even more common than dirt bike traffic. Most of the trails are now maintained by a machine called a SWECO, which cuts and smoothes a 48″ wide path – adequate for most of the 4-wheeled ATV’s of today. Many of the trails have now been designated as ATV suitable and are marked as such at the trailheads. There are however, a few trails that remain closed to ATV traffic. It might be because the trail contains sections that are dangerous or impossible to navigate on an ATV without going off the trail, or it may be to preserve the “single track” experience of the trail for the motorcycle users. We ask that you please respect those closures, they have been made for good reason. If a trail is marked as closed to ATV traffic, please keep out of it, even if it appears you can fit at the beginning. The newest trail maps show which trails are open to OHVs of different widths. Rampart Range only has a few trails that are open to UTVs wider than 50″. If you are looking for more trails that are wide enough, visit Stay the Trail for maps and directions.
Historically Rampart hasn’t gotten a whole lot of OHV use other than snowmobiles in the winter months. Once a significant amount of snow falls, most dirt bikers are looking for warmer climates. ATVs are able to travel in much deeper snow however, and that has caused another phenomenon at Rampart Range – emergency trail closures. Because the ATV is able to get through even when conditions are poor, it is sometimes necessary to close the trail system for short periods, especially during the spring thaw. This is to prevent excessive damage to the trail system caused by traffic when the trails are extremely wet and muddy. It can be annoying, but please keep in mind that it is to protect the area that we all love to use.
Come Join Us!
Again, we can’t stress enough, we need your help too! Come to our meetings and/or work parties and help us keep Rampart available for generations to come! We hope to see you there!
Because of the relative ease and stability of the 4 wheeled machines, many people who previously would not have considered off road vehicle recreation are now getting in on the fun. This is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, many more people are able to experience the fun of traveling through the woods and visiting areas they might not otherwise have seen. Young and old, even many physically challenged are able to participate. On the other hand though, far too many people buy an ATV and are lured in to a false sense of safety by their “harmless” appearance. Many of these users also are not properly educated on the importance of staying on the trail and the proper use of safety equipment, or even how to properly handle their machines in unusual or dangerous situations. It is not uncommon to see small children riding 2 or even 3 up on large machines with no safety gear at all. Accidents happen frequently, often with grave results. Safety Rules Anyone who operates an ATV must understand and respect the dangers of off road riding. It’s easy to sling a leg over an ATV and figure out how to operate it, it’s something else entirely to know how to do so safely. We strongly urge new riders to attend one of the ATV safety courses offered by the ATV Safety Institute or similar organizations.
We also offer these safety rules:
• If you’re a beginner to ATV riding, sign up for some professional instruction and certification.
• Practice your skills. Start off easy on level areas, then practice on more difficult terrain while still in a controlled environment. Master these skills before riding in rough or unfamiliar terrain.
• ATVs are not toys. Do not permit children to operate an ATV without proper training and instruction. Always provide supervision and only allow children to operate appropriately sized ATVs.
• Always wear an approved helmet and other protective gear. Helmets can often spell the difference between life and death.
• Read the owner’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use, maintenance and pre-use checks.
• Never ride double unless you are on a machine specifically designed for multiple passengers. Most ATVs are designed for a single rider.
• Travel with a buddy (on a second ATV), never alone. An accident far from help can result in a minor injury becoming serious or even fatal.
• Adjust your speed to the conditions. Excess speed is a factor in many ATV accidents.
• Do not operate an ATV on streets, highways or paved roads. ATV use on Rampart Range Road is always prohibited.
• Never ride an ATV where prohibited or where it can damage the environment. This means staying out of meadows, muddy fields, streams, riverbeds, etc, except on designated trails.
“Mud Bogging” is responsible for many closures, don’t do it! Stay The Trail.
• Ask permission of owners before riding on private property.
• Never ride an ATV with alcohol or drugs in your bloodstream. It takes a clear head to safely operation any type of machine.
• Use lights, reflectors and flags to improve visibility.
• Use proper posture for riding. (For correct posture information, check your owner’s manual.)
• Avoid taking sharp turns too fast. Plan ahead.
• Pay attention to roads, terrain, slopes, canals, ditches, blind intersections, trees, shrubs and other vehicles that might cause accidents. Rampart receives a lot of traffic, especially on the weekends. Motorcycle often move much faster than ATVs and there is often little or no time to react when you find yourself face to face on a blind corner.
• Stop at blind intersections, corners of buildings, parked vehicles, and while coming out from between rows of trees or shrubs onto a road or trail.
• Avoid side-hills. Rampart contains many trails with off-camber sections that can be hazardous on an ATV. If unavoidable, lean into the hill and use extreme caution.