ST. GEORGE – The Desert Roads and Trails Society, or Desert RATS, recently donated $20,300 in proceeds from the Winter 4×4 Jamboree off-road event in January to three different organizations focused on protecting public access for motorized sports.
The Winter 4×4 Jamboree, which ran Jan. 23-24, drew more than 450 vehicles and close to 1,000 participants from Southern Utah, the Wasatch Front and other states for a two-day guided trail event in support of keeping trails open.
Many of the more extreme rock crawling trails in Southern Utah are located in the Sand Mountain off-highway vehicle area, while some easier trails explore other scenic areas of Washington County.
“After years of helping with (other) events in Southern Utah, it brings great pleasure to donate large sums to land use organizations like Utah 4 Wheel Drive Association, Utah Public Lands Alliance and Blue Ribbon Coalition that are working to keep our public lands open for all to enjoy,” Desert RATS president Jeff Bieber said.
Desert RATS donated $15,000 to the Utah Public Lands Alliance, a local land use group which has been fighting a proposed land swap that would affect trail use on the Sand Mountain off-highway vehicle area. Another $5,000 was donated to the Utah 4 Wheel Drive Association, an association of four-wheel drive clubs in Utah and surrounding states. The Blue Ribbon Coalition, a national recreation advocacy organization, received $300 from the Desert RATS.
The Utah Public Lands Alliance, which received the lion’s share of the donation, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit volunteer group dedicated to preserving public lands.
UPLA President Gil Meacham said their primary source of income is donations. Funds are used to pay for advertising, legal fees, public education, and daily operating expenses.
“We thank the Desert Roads And Trails Society, their sponsors and participants at the Winter 4×4 Jamboree for their contributions,” Meacham said. “These funds will be used to continue furthering our cause to keep trails open in Utah.”
- Winter 4×4 Jamboree website, Facebook page
- Desert RATS Facebook page
- Utah Public Lands Alliance website
- Utah 4 Wheel Drive Association Facebook page
- Blue Ribbon Coalition website
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