Grand County officials ask National Park Service to reconsider allowing ATVs

Stock image | Photo by Marekuliasz/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah officials in a large tourist community have asked the National Park Service to reconsider allowing all-terrain vehicles and other off-road vehicles inside the parks.

Grand County leaders passed a resolution Tuesday to ask park officials to reevaluate the order, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Wednesday.

Allowing all-terrain vehicles in the parks would have a negative impact on the visitor experience and resource and wildlife protection efforts, said Moab Mayor Emily Niehaus and Castle Valley Mayor Jazmine Duncan.

“If we allow them in the park, we will fundamentally alter the experience of all visitors to the backcountry roads in our parks here,” Moab resident Michael Grandstaff told Grand County council members. “We are so lucky to have those. Most parks don’t have those types of dirt access roads.”

Utah parks discriminated against all-terrain vehicle operators by arbitrarily favoring Jeeps, four-wheel-drive pickups, dirt bikes and other vehicles capable of going off road, some residents said in favor of the park service directive.

Each state park was ordered to allow off-road vehicles on roads open to conventional vehicles by Nov. 1 but upheld a strict ban on off-road use, park service officials said. Under the directive, up to 227 miles (365 kilometers) of paved and 487 miles (784 kilometers) of unpaved roads are open to off-road vehicles.

The decision includes Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Zion and other national monuments administered by the park service, officials said.

Park officials were not immediately available for comment.

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