A gift from American Honda Corp. has made it easier for a popular forestry teacher with multiple sclerosis to negotiate mountainous terrain at Colorado State University’s Pingree Park campus.
Honda contributed four all-terrain vehicles and a 1994 Passport sport utility vehicle to the College of Natural Resources, a gift worth about $50,000.
Forestry Professor Rick Laven uses one of the vehicles to travel the rugged terrain at the 3,000-acre Pingree Park campus. Laven is director of the college’s summer field program in natural resources ecology, in which students study forestry, fishery and wildlife biology, range science, as well as earth and recreation resources.
The three remaining ATVs will be used at the university’s Environmental Learning Center, a 200-acre complex that offers environmental education programs to Front Range youth. At both locations, the vehicles will be used in maintenance, law enforcement, trail construction and teaching natural resource students how to use ATVs safely.
Honda’s contribution also dovetails with a new curriculum developed by the department of natural resource recreation and tourism. Professors Glenn Haas and Jerry Vaske and graduate student Diane Gaede created a distance learning course for land managers and college students nationwide on how to integrate all- terrain vehicles and other types of vehicles into recreation programs on public lands. The course will be offered for the first time this fall.
"Motorized recreation in the West is exploding in popularity and is a legitimate use of our public lands," said Haas. "But our professional ability to plan, design and manage this activity needs to be improved."
The Colorado Division of State Parks, Montana Trail Riders Association, U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service are supporting Colorado State’s efforts in ATV education and related projects.