HACKENSACK, N.J. (AP) — The illegal use of all-terrain vehicles remains a problem in New Jersey.

But curbing the problem remains a major challenge for state and local officials, mostly due to the lack of available sites where ATV’s can be safely and legally used.

In New Jersey, public lands are off-limits to ATVs. Nor can they be ridden on public streets.

Environmentalists say ATV riders routinely destroy swaths of public parkland and hurt the serene and pristine environment around walking trails. They also say the loud roar of ATV engines disrupts hikers seeking to hear bird calls and bubbling streams.

But ATV enthusiasts argue that they also deserve access to the outdoors, and believe they’re being stereotyped as “out of control rowdies” with no respect for others.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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