|Richard Beardall, SouthEastern Utah OHV, Burt Hadden Castle Country OHV, and Don Lum of the BLM gather at Belleview Flat.|
On Feb. 10, a vehicle traveled along the Devil's Race Track and engaged in occasional off-route travel through a 2.5 mile section of the trail. It was later determined that some of this action was prompted by a mechanical failure in the vehicle's steering system.
While off-route the vehicle damaged vegetation, including a few Juniper trees. The vehicle eventually had additional mechanical failures which left it unable to proceed to the end of the trail at I-70. It was abandoned near the "backbone," which is the most technical section of the trail.
Concerned citizens reported the incident to the Price Bureau of Land Management. BLM Law Enforcement Officer Don Lum went to the scene on Feb. 12 to conduct an investigation. During this investigation, Officer Lum was able to positively identify the person who operated the vehicle and citations will be forthcoming.
Local OHV users desired to go out and repair the areas where the off-route travel had occurred before the area could be negatively impacted any further. After first obtaining approval from the Price BLM office, the Southeastern Utah OHV Club volunteered to organize a work project to repair the damage. However, because of the weekend being a holiday weekend, President's Day, volunteers were hard to find. A plea was put out for help from the statewide OHV community including 4X4, ATV and motorcycle groups. The response was incredible.
On Feb. 17, volunteers began arriving at Belleview Flat below Ferron at 9 a.m. Each brought their own rakes and other necessary equipment to complete the trail restoration and maintenance project.
Users from all across the State of Utah expressed a desire and willingness to help. Many clubs, as well as some individuals, showed up for the project. The SEUOHV club was impressed and thankful for the many users that heeded the call for help. A partial list of clubs and organizations represented includes the following: SouthEastern Utah OHV Club (Carbon/Emery counties), King Crawlers 4X4 club (Carbon/Emery counties, Trail Patrol (Logan), Pathfinders ATV Club (Utah County), Utah Trail Machine Association, (statewide) Sage Riders Motorcycle Club (Springville), Castle Country OHV Association (Carbon/Emery counties), Utah ATV (statewide) and members of the Utah Shared Access Alliance (statewide).
|Volunteers gather at the Devil's Racetrack for the trail maintenance and repair project.|
Lum and Dennis Willis of the BLM, arrived to lead the group into the Devil's Race Track. Some instruction was given on trail restoration methods. Willis said, "I want to thank everyone for volunteering today to work on our public lands. We are here for a rehabilitation project and that calls for a minimum tool concept. That is to use the least tool to accomplish the rehab. If an area just needs to be scuffed with your shoe to remove the track, use your shoe. Have no more impact than the original insult. Begin all work from the far end of the disturbed area and work back to the trail. There is no need to dig deep for repairs, use the back side of a rake if necessary. If there are any broken brush in the area, use those to sweep away the marks."
Lum asked the assembled group to pick up any litter they may see along the way. Several of the riders had extra garbage bags and those were handed around to accommodate this task.
Several of these aforementioned groups have previously entered into Volunteer Agreements with the BLM for maintenance of the roads and trails in the area. The VAs have been in place for years and hundreds of volunteer hours have been invested into maintenance of the roads and trails in the San Rafael Swell.
It is estimated that 55 volunteer users showed up for the project. The response was so great that it was decided to have some of the users do routine trail maintenance on other trails within the Sid's Mountain Trail System. In addition to those who had traveled great distances for the purpose of helping, there were also riders that just happened upon the project and still voluntarily joined in the work.
There were many hands to perform the maintenance resulting in overwhelming the BLM staff that was on had to supervise the project. Actually this was a good problem to have. Perhaps some of the users felt frustrated that they could not do more; but it was the consensus of all that the amount of work each person was able to do was not as important as simply being there. The statement made by each and every person there, was that the OHV community is concerned about the environment and are willing to donate time, energy and resources to help the BLM maintain this valuable motorized trail system.
Overall this was a positive work experience in many fashions. It was an opportunity for many user groups to come together for a single purpose and goal. The motorcycle, ATV and 4x4 groups worked side by side to preserve the integrity of the trail and to protect the resource. Many relationships were established, both among the different user groups, as well as with the BLM.
In addition, this project provided the BLM an opportunity to network with the users and see what a valuable resource the OHV community can be to them. The spirit of cooperation shown by the OHV community was very impressive. These individuals, clubs, organizations and groups are willing to give of their time, money and energy to work with the land managers to ensure that the next generation can continue to enjoy motorized use of these same roads and trails on our public land.