IRON COUNTY – During Tuesday’s Iron County Commission meeting, representatives from the Utah Division of Parks and Recreation presented information regarding the future of an off-highway vehicle trail system in Iron County.
In the state of Utah, there are currently 80,000 miles of off-highway vehicle trails, the majority of which are dirt roads, Chris Haller, off-highway vehicle program manager, said.
Trails span from northern Utah to Southern Utah and all the way to the Utah-Arizona border, giving OHV drivers accessibility to the state without the use of street-legal vehicles, Haller said. Most of this trail system bypasses Iron County.
Haller, along with Michael Franklin, park manager at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, offered to assist the county in increasing and improving its current trails and eventually connecting them into other systems.
“We have a lot of room to benefit, but on a local level they have a much greater ability to benefit,” Haller said.
A larger trail system will give tourists more options and more activities to participate in when visiting Iron County.
“This helps keep the people within Iron County to spend additional dollars, to see more of what the county has to offer,” Haller said. “It’s done tastefully through a designated off-highway vehicle route system.”
Haller and Franklin said in time, this could affect the economic development of the area.
“Anything we can do to bring them in here and have them stay longer,” Franklin said. “That’s our goal, to enhance economic impact for Iron County and all the counties in Southern Utah.”
The main goal would be creating a system that would connect cities and towns for the use of off-highway vehicles without the need of driving on paved city roads or highways, Franklin said.
Although no plan is currently in place for an improved system, David Miller, Iron County commissioner, said he looked forward to this item on the agenda and that it is something he knows needs improving.
“We need to have a travel management plan for off-highway vehicle use that we can agree to, that is desirable, that allows people who choose that form of recreation to partake of the beauty of our natural resources here,” Miller said.
An interactive map featuring all the off-highway vehicle trails in Utah is currently being created by Utah State Parks. The map will be available for download online and will be compatible with smartphones and tablets.
The new map will be similar to the winter snowmobile interactive map.
For more information on off highway vehicle trails, visit the Utah State Parks website.
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