Is off-roading dangerous to Guam's ecosystem? - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Is off-roading dangerous to Guam's ecosystem?

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Jeeps, Trucks, ATVs are essentials for any off-roading enthusiast. And while wheeling around in the dirt and mud can be fun, experts say it also poses a danger to the environment.

Living on Guam is an outdoor lover's dream. There's no shortage of activities, which includes off- oading. But the practice of reckless off-roading poses serious threats to our island ecosystem. That's why concerned citizens are coming together to do something about it, with Dr. Austin Shelton saying, "Off-roading has been one of our environmental challenges that people have thought of pretty often on Guam."

The executive director for the University of Guam's Center for Island Sustainability added, "Reckless off-roading or irresponsible off-roading can lead to erosion that gets down through our watersheds and out to smother and kill our coral reefs."

These are important resources for our island and  people. But adventure seekers won't have to say good-bye to thrilling activity, as Dr. Shelton added, "There's actually ways to off-road in a responsible manner that protects the existing trails, doesn't affect the nearby environments and we would like to discuss some of those issues."

A discussion that had UOG's Center for Island Sustainability, Sea Grant, and EPSCoR are facilitating a round table discussion.

Led by Cars Plus, Cycles Plus, and Let's Ride Guam, the talks aim at creating guidelines to off-road responsibly.  While official guidelines are still developing, Dr. Shelton has a few suggestions, such as, "Some things that come to mind are rotation of off-road trails, putting sediment buffers or trees around the existing trails, and also not doing things like what's called digging out in off-roading where if you get stuck in the mud, you force yourself out but having somebody tow you."

Ultimately, the discussion is a joint-effort and Dr. Shelton hopes that once guidelines have been established, off-roading groups and companies will adopt them.

For more information, visit uog.edu/cis.

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