OHV use in protected natural areas is a big no-no, and I can get that. Hell, MTB use in designated Wilderness areas is also forbidden (that's another topic altogether), but I digress. If you have a problem understanding this concept, think of how often you drift a corner on your 4wheeler, dig a rut on your dirt bike, or sling rooster tails a mile high while stuck in a mudhole. All of these cause pretty extreme erosion and, overlooking the fact that erosion is a form of pollution, at a minimum is hard to keep the trails maintained. Sound pollution from your loud ass, baffle-less exhaust, stream pollution from all of the muddy runoff, and the general ugliness of an area rutted up and bare all combine to make it harder and harder to keep OHV areas open.
Damn, I sound like a treehugger. But it's good to see the opposing point-of-view so we can better understand how to handle and protect ourselves and our riding areas. There may be OHV trails opening all over Coal Country but we're probably the only place in the country seeing noticeable growth in trail development. We've lost Wilderness Trail Offroad Park (Pineville KY) to a nature preserve just in the last year, so we're not immune either. Motocross tracks get shut down before they even open. Noise complaints and zoning ordinances, safety and liability... the list goes on and on.
Mountain bikes are still a great compromise between nature access and white-knuckle seat time behind some handlebars. Sure, you have to earn those gnar-filled descents but the more you earn something the more you enjoy it. And if you're spoilt rotten, just shuttle it...
There are so many places that peddles can take you and it's just a completely different experience altogether. National Forests are littered with bike trails and you can get out into some extremely remote and mostly untouched wilderness by bicycle. Look at it this way: a strong case can be made comparing someone on a 4wheeler zipping through the mountains to those pesky Millennials constantly staring at their iPhones, completely out of touch with what's surrounding them. If you zoom through all of the forest to get to the next lookout, you've missed the majority of what you're attempting to 'see': Nature.
Dirt bikes are my first and biggest passion. I grew up on 4wheelers and I would love a SxS. Those vehicles all have their place but the reality is that place is very rarely in remote, isolated, untouched wild.
You just can't get the same feeling of leaving civilization behind when you're depending on gasoline to get you out there. This is where you puff out your chest, slam another Bud Light and start calling me a city slicker (after all, I did move out of the mountains several years ago). Just stop and think for a second what it would be like carrying a weekend's worth of supplies in a backpack on a Yeti bicycle rather than in the bed of your SxS, alongside your Yeti Cooler. Good luck finding a way to carry that cooler. There's no driving off the mountain to a 4wheeler friendly restaurant and gas station.
Before we get into a pissing contest, this isn't to say a mountain biker is a bigger badass than an ATVer. I live on both sides of that fence and one isn't more macho than the other, so let's just put that one to bed. It's just different. There's just something about the solitude and feeling of self-sufficiency that really draws me to loading up my bicycle and getting out there.