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Forest damage due to ATVs offroading

ATV damage in Olsen Canyon shows a user made trail going around a closed area.

Staff writer

"While I want to acknowledge that there are many responsible ATV users who stay on the trails and ride legally, and then volunteer many hours repairing trails, another part of the reality is the illegal motorized use in the forest," said Mesia Nyman, US Forest Service. "The last couple of years, the illegal use has accelerated in inventory, enforcement and closure of illegal trails. I am horrified at the number of illegal trails being created," she said.

Nyman showed photos of the damage done in the Grassy Lake area in one day by irresponsible ATV riders who will not stay on legal trails. "We can't keep up with this. It is an amazing and overwhelming issue. These actions must stop and we must change people's minds and make them realize they cannot make new trails and go wherever they want."

The Emery County Public Lands Council discussed the damage in the Grassy Lake area and brought up another spot which is being abused. That area is Potter's Pond. Nyman stated one of her volunteers had been in the Potter's Pond area and had observed a man ride into a wetland meadow, read the sign which said no vehicle travel allowed in this sensitive area, and then ride around the sign and continue through the meadow.

"This wanton disregard for the rules is unacceptable. The populace must realize if they witness such an act, they should call law enforcement immediately," urged Nyman.

The entire public lands council agreed that this behavior is unacceptable, and encouraged everyone to be watchful of those breaking the laws regarding riding ATVs in illegal areas.

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