Surveillance late last month in Virginia’s George Washington and Jefferson National Forests resulted in 50 federal charges against 12 people caught riding all-terrain vehicles, which are illegal in most of the national forest land, says the Associated Press. Seven of the machines were impounded. The riders were mostly 18 to 22 years old, and many had just gotten their ATVs for Christmas. Fo federal law that specifically authorizes officers to seize ATVs, but law enforcers have the right to seize evidence.
“We’re just going to start taking them,” an official told The Roanoke Times. “When your $3,000 or $4,000 or $6,000 machine turns up missing and you come to the National Forest Service looking for it, we’ll be happy to see that you get it back. But not until you’ve gotten your ticket.” Every national forest designates legal trails for motorized vehicles such as all-terrain vehicles and trail bikes. Between October 2005 and October 2006, the Forest Service logged 299 reports of ATV use in the national forests. Criminal charges were filed in 135 cases, and 38 written warnings were issued.