Dune buggies can be street legal off-road vehicles equipped with wide, knobby or paddle-like tires specially designed for travel on loose, deep sand. Some are merely ATVs or “dragster” like vehicles with large wheels.
Dune buggies negatively impact dune formation, a central component of barrier island ecology, by limiting vegetation growth. Vehicle travel also can destabilize beach structure by breaking the fine salt crust that helps to reduce erosion caused by wind and water.
Harassment of wildlife is one major impact of these machines. For example, on the Holdgate beach in Brigantine Wilderness Area in New Jersey, dune buggies disturb birds, including the threatened piping plover, during critical feeding and resting periods.