... is illegal, and it is destroying your backyard.

What is mudding?

Truck taking a short cut to another road by driving through mud.
Mudding is when you drive through wet meadows, fields, streams, lakeshores and lakebeds...

Truck stuck in mud up to middle of front wheels.
... spinning tires to throw mud, ripping up the vegetation and creating deep mud holes -- with the goal of testing the rig's power and getting as muddy as possible....

What's wrong with mudding?

Mudding rips up native plants.

  • When plants are gone, there is nothing to stop soil from washing into nearby streams and lakes. Muddy streams and lakes are bad for fish, wildlife, recreationists, and towns dependent upon water and tourism for survival.
  • When native plants are gone, noxious weeds move in. A meadow of native grasses and flowers may soon become a field of thistles and knapweed.

Mudding compacts soil.

  • Healthy soil should bounce a bit when you walk on it. Tire tracks create hard, dried up soil. This hard soil doesn't allow water to move into the ground. Instead, water runs down tire tracks and into creeks and lakes, bringing mud and pollutants with it.
  • It is hard for plants to grow in compacted soil -- imagine trying to extend your legs through a concrete floor.

Mudding smothers fish.

  • Salmon and trout need cold streams with gravel and cover to build their nests and bury their eggs. Young fish grow up in between the gravel, safe from predators. Driving through streams destroys gravel areas, and can smother young fish.

Mudding harms wildlife.

  • Meadows and wetlands provide important breeding, rearing, and foraging habitats for many birds and other animals. When vehicles tear up these areas, they remove nesting and hiding cover, decrease available forage, interfere with feeding, and push animals out into areas where they may not survive. The damage affects wildlife from the largest elk to the smallest shrew, and from bald eagles to hummingbirds.

Mudding is expensive.

  • The repair work for just one site can cost thousands of dollars. Multiply that by the number of impacted meadows across the country, and you can see that the cost to taxpayers is immense. Each year, managers of public lands must spend time and money repairing roads damaged by illegal early season drivers.

Mudding is unsightly and ruins favorite recreation sites.

Large muddy water-filled hole in the middle of the road.Mudding is also driving on roads that have not yet dried ou from rain and snowmelt.

Water filled muddy ruts in road.

What happens if you are caught mudding?

  • Under 36 Code of Federal Regulations 261.13, section h: "It is prohibited to operate any vehicle off Forest Development, State or County roads... in a manner which damages or unreasonably disturbs the land, wildlife, or vegetative resources."
  • You could be fined up to $5000. In addition, the U.S. Forest Service may bring a civil suit against you to pay for the costly restoration.

What can you do to help?

  • Recognize that mud on a truck often means damaged habitat and the need for repairs that will be costly to all taxpayers.
  • Tell your friends, neighbors, family members and classmates that you don't appreciate them destroying your public land.
  • Seek out areas where the use of off road vehicles is permitted, and get involved with the groups that maintain those areas. Make sure you are using the right trail for your vehicle-there are signs posted at the trailheads.
  • When you see mudding activity, call local law enforcement authorities.

Meadow all torn up with ruts from driving vehicles through muddy areas.!ut/p/z0/04_Sj9CPykssy0xPLMnMz0vMAfIjo8zijQwgwNHCwN_DI8zPyBcqYKBfkO2oCABZcx5g/?position=Not%2520Yet%2520Determined.Html&pname=Willamette%2520National%2520Forest-%2520OHV%2520Riding%2520&navtype=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&ss=110618&pnavid=110000000000000&navid=110350000000000&ttype=detail&cid=stelprdb5097794