March 20, 2024

PHOENIX — When in doubt, turn around.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) reminds off-highway vehicle (OHV) users that riding on soggy trails caused by rain or snow can result in long-lasting damage to wildlife habitat.  

OHV users are advised to resist the urge to hit the gas and turn around, or avoid the area. Any  splashing or “mudding”  — purposefully driving through wet areas for fun — can tear up roads and trails, making them impassable and causing damage to meadows, streams and other areas important to wildlife and Arizona’s water supply. Even a lighter-weight OHV with low-pressure tires can be damaging.  

OHV riders can be issued citations and be held liable for any damages. It can cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair an area and an untold amount of time for a habitat to recover. 

According to the U.S. Forest Service, mudding has several negative impacts, including:

It’s also a safety issue for riders. OHVs handle differently on wet roads than on dry ground, so use caution and drive at slower speeds when roads and trails are wet.

OHV riders are also reminded to wear a helmet at all times while on trails. 

Anyone who observes mudding is urged to call 1-800-VANDALS. A license plate number and description of both the OHV and its operator, as well details about the area where the activity took place, will assist law enforcement personnel in their investigation. 

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