Illustration for article titled Inconsiderate Assholes Are Damaging Parts Of Death Valley
Photo: NPS

You could give people the biggest playground in the world and some will still find a way to trash the delicate parts and ruin it for others. Death Valley National Park is absolutely massive, larger than the state of Connecticut. The more capable your vehicle is, the larger the park gets, with trails, old mining camps, and rocky cliff-side roads that you could spend a month exploring.

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That makes it even more disappointing that people would ignore the signs and drive into the sensitive and beautiful places to trash them, leaving marks that could last for years. The park reports that 130 miles of vehicle tracks have been recorded off of the roads and trails in the area, many of them in iconic places like Badwater Basin and Stovepipe Wells.

Badwater Basin
Badwater Basin
Photo: NPS
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According to a report by News3 Las Vegas, Death Valley is asking California’s Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division for grants to restore the areas and prevent further damage. The park is holding a public meeting to get ideas and comments to incorporate into the grant application.

This is not the first time this has happened, obviously, and the park service has been known to track down and prosecute people who do these kinds of things.

Outside of Death Valley, the southwestern United States has more off-roading places that total more area than some countries. If you want to do donuts on dry lake beds, crawl up a mountain, or drive over some sand dunes, it would be difficult to run out of legal places to do it. There are no excuses.

Matt Brown is an automotive engineer, writer, and builder of unconventional things. Mostly vehicles.

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