Looking at ATV Damage on Private Land
|Glen Jensen sits beside the old house at the Marsing ranch where vandalism is a problem.|
Kirk and Glen Jensen brought their problem before the Emery County Lands Council on March 11. The Jensens reported a problem they are having with ATV and motorcycle traffic upon their private property. They said that they have no trespassing signs posted all over and these signs are ignored and torn down. Roads that did not exist a year ago have been created by users to the area. They also reported that antique items at the old Marsing ranch have been stolen by those entering the property.
The ATVs are damaging the property by building these roads and are also damaging the drainage system by going in and out of the ditches and washes and changing their natural channels. The Jensens expressed frustration at their situation. They have contacted law enforcement about this trespassing and were told they needed to get the license plate numbers of those on the property illegally. The Jensens said this is nearly impossible to do. They are also concerned about the damage to their property devaluing its worth.
The lands council discussed possible ways to help solve the problems the Jensens are having. Tory Killian pointed out that ATV groups perform work projects and would be a good resource to get involved in the issue. It was suggested that the ATV groups get involved with the installation of gates to obstruct the access onto the private property.
Joan Hubert from the BLM was also present at the meeting. She believed that the major problem is that the private ground borders the BLM ground which is open for riders. She suggested the Jensens get in contact with the BLM and get their problems addressed in the RMP process. She suggested that the boundaries of the land which is open adjacent to the Jensen property be pushed back to obtain a buffer zone between the open BLM land and the closed private land. She recognized the problem of people ignoring the signs and not paying any attention to when they enter the private land. She felt this buffer zone could cut down on the ATV traffic in the area. Hubert stressed that these concerns must be addressed during the RMP process. She encouraged the Jensens to come in and talk to the manager in charge of that area and to also put their concerns in writing for submission. Hubert said as the realty specialist for the BLM she would be glad to sit down with the Jensens and outline their property lines on a map and see how far back to restrict travel to protect the private ground.
Scott Wheeler, ATV enthusiast from Price was also present at the meeting and said he had concerns about the Marsing ranch for a number of years. He described the ranch as being a historical place with many artifacts which need to be preserved. He said he saw a 4-wheel drive truck going through that area which he knew was closed. He believes that education is one of the keys to solving problems like these. Wheeler thought ads in the paper might be helpful which let people know the Marsing Ranch is off limits and private property.
Wheeler also said he would be glad to get his ATV group together to help with signage in the area.
|The road clearly does not stop at the no trespassing sign posted.|
Mark H. Williams, from the Southeastern Utah OHV club stated they are working together with the state to bring a bigger license plate for ATVs and motorcycles so the numbers could easily be read through binoculars; it is really difficult to identify offenders. He stated it is the 10 percent jerk factor that makes things difficult for responsible ATV riders. He promised the support of his group in helping the Jensens with their problem.
Glen Jensen said the property is only supposed to be accessed by hiking in or by horseback. He wanted people to know that with his permission they can hike or ride in on horseback to see the area. His problem comes with the motorized traffic which goes through his property and destroys it. The ATVs have damaged many of the horse and cow trails which existed on the property for livestock use.
Bert Oman, also present at the meeting, suggested they look into getting the Marsing ranch designated as a historical site. Vandalizing a historical site carries much stiffer penalties than other types of vandalism. Oman suggested they come to a historical society meeting and get the ball rolling with that approach.
Jim Gilson also suggested a reward could be offered for the recovery of stolen items from the site and also a reward for information leading to the identification of those trespassing on the property.
Gilson said that rewards have been effective for them in helping to catch poachers and might be useful along these lines as well.
The Jensens seemed encouraged with the show of support from the lands council and the discussion of possible solutions for the problems on their land.