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Front Page » January 27, 2004 » Local News » Tying it Together
Published 4,780 days ago

Tying it Together

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Student Staff Writer

Will the Desert Meet the Mountains?

Arapeen Trail Jamboree riders take a view from the top of Ferron Mountain.

Imagine a system of trails where the rider can begin in the desert, stop in town for gas and grub; continue onto a mountain vista and never be in violation or leave the trail. The Arapeen OHV Trail may be having a growth spurt soon. At a recent Emery County Commission meeting, Mark H. Williams from the SouthEastern Utah OHV Club proposed a reworking of the Arapeen Trail and Bureau of Land Management's land to make a more community-based ATV trail system. In addition to outlining the boundaries of the existing trail and the proposed trail, Williams detailed the recreational, safety, and economic benefits of the proposed system.

The existing trails are currently owned and operated by two separate agencies, the forest service and the BLM. Williams' plan proposes a 620 mile trail that combines the San Rafael and Manti-LaSal areas to be maintained by an advisory council. The council will include, but not be limited to, the BLM, U.S. Forest Service, Utah State Parks and Recreation, Sanpete and Emery County Commissions, Emery County Public Lands Council, Castle Country Travel Region, Emery County Chamber of Commerce, Emery County Economic Development Council, city governments, search and rescue, local businessmen, SouthEastern Utah OHV Club and interested citizens.

The proposed system will have trailheads in towns, state parks, and some popular trails. The routes will be marked by "Fremont Indian Style" petroglyphs of desert bighorn sheep. Each type of trail will be designated by a different petroglyph and a trail number. City streets coinciding with the proposed trail will have a special sheep symbol to remind riders of city ordinances pertaining to ATVs. The trails will also be marked as to the level of difficulty with green circles for beginner, blue squares for intermediate, black diamonds for advanced, and double black diamonds for expert.

Arapeen ATV jamboree organizers held desert rides even though the San Rafael isn't officially part of the Arapeen Trail system.

Citizens of Emery County could not only benefit from the trail for recreational purposes, but also the tourism industry the trail will bring in. Based on the average visitor's spending of $125 per day, it is calculated that the Paiute Trail System, which the Arapeen proposal is modeled after, has brought in $6 million to central Utah. Local RV parks, ATV rental and repair shops, motels, restaurants, gas stations, gift shops, and grocery stores will all benefit from the increased traffic that a larger, combined trail system will bring.

The county commissioners agreed to write a letter endorsing the proposed Arapeen Trail system if the access committee would look over the plans for the trail. The access committee is working on an ordinance for county roads that the ATVs would be using.

Williams met with the BLM on Jan. 7, and notes that they sound favorable to the expanded Arapeen Trail proposal. Williams will continue to work to make this trail connector system a reality. The proposal is now being considered by the BLM state officials.

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January 27, 2004
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