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Sustaining Forests

Private Landowner Attitudes toward Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Access in Minnesota

[photo:] Off-highway vehicle riders.Research Issue

Off-highway vehicle (OHV) riding has increased dramatically in the past decade. This creates challenges for finding suitable places to ride, particularly where access to public lands is limited. However, very little information is available about private landowners’ attitudes toward OHV riding on their properties.

Our Research

This research examined the willingness of private forest landowners to provide OHV access on their lands. We developed a questionnaire to collect information about landowners’ attitudes and practices regarding OHV riding and access on their land, and mailed it to a random sample of forest landowners in north central Minnesota. Results indicate low willingness among landowners to provide public OHV riding opportunities. About 3% of respondents already allow public OHV access on their land. Many more indicated that they might be willing to allow OHV riding under conditions that include: lowered noise levels, older riders, low speeds, and small group sizes. In addition, we found that landowner attitudes toward OHV riding and rider behaviors are different when riders are family and friends versus the general public.


Expected Outcomes

This research provides rare insight into how OHV riding behaviors influence landowners’ willingness to allow access to their land. Improving our understanding may help address possible conflict between riders and private landowners. It might also help identify actions that minimize or prevent environmental and property damage from OHV riding.

Research Results

Becker, D. R., G. L. Wilson, S. A. Snyder. (2010). Private Forest Landowner Attitudes toward Off-Highway Vehicle Access: A Minnesota Case Study. Northern Journal of Applied Forestry 27(2): 62-67.

Research Participants

Principal Investigator

  • Dennis R. Becker, Department of Forest Resources, University of Minnesota-St. Paul

Research Partners

  • Grant L. Wilson, Department of Forest Resources, University of Minnesota-St. Paul
  • Stephanie A. Snyder, Operations Research Analyst, U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station

Last Modified: 01/10/2011