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Forest Service discusses ATV damage during archery hunt

ATV damage around Duck Fork reservoir. Damage by ATVs during the bow hunt is a cause of concern for the forest service.

Staff writer

Mesia Nyman, representing the US Forest Service spoke with the Emery County Public Lands Council, "We have been amazed this year by the amount of damage to the forest by the archers with motorized vehicles during the hunting season. This archery season was as bad as the regular hunting season last year," stated Nyman. She explained during the archery season, officers were inconspicuously posted at points where trails end and carsonite signs are placed to close the trail. These officers issued citations to those who chose to go around the closure signs. "We discovered that a full 50 percent of ATV riders chose to ignore the signs and go around a closure. We will continue our enforcement activities through the regular hunts," Nyman said.

She said the trail is under construction alongside SR-31 in Huntington Canyon from Huntington Reservoir to the Skyline Drive. About one mile of the trail has been completed.

Nyman announced the newest travel maps for motor vehicle use in the forest are now at the printer. It is guessed the maps will be available to the public in December. "When these new maps come out, they will clearly explain what is open to ATVs, to UTVs, to full sized vehicle and anything else. If the map says a trail is for ATV use, that means nothing wider than 50 inches. We will be doing enforcement work along with signs and barricades," she stated.

Nyman also announced that work near Scofield and Grassy Lakes is completed. They have been closing some user created trails. They will begin work near Julius Reservoir to close a user created trail from that reservoir to Spinners Reservoir. The repair work on the Black Dragon trail is complete and the trail was used during the Arapeen Jamboree for the ladies ride.

The Hikers Society of America is in the Manti-LaSal Forest doing some repair work. Work will also begin in the Joe's Valley area, which is a retreat project, near Swasey Creek to Reeder Subdivision. A sage grouse habitat project will soon be underway in the Pines area of Wild Cat. Sagebrush will be harrowed and the area will be replanted with grasses and forbs.

SB181S01, which will permit off highway vehicle use on public highways with a speed limit of less than 45 miles per hour, effective Oct. 1, was discussed. There are strict guidelines under which an ATV must qualify to be allowed this travel. The machines must be street legal under 13 explicit requirements, along with being fully licensed and insured. Street legal ATVs must comply with the same regulations for insurance and licensing as full sized motor vehicles, and the operator must be a licensed driver and comply with all the traffic laws.

Don Riddle of the US Forest Service said he has looked into the regulations and it would cost a person approximately $3,000 to make an ATV street legal. Under this new law, a new definition has been created for a new class of motor vehicles known at street legal all terrain vehicles. Some of the 13 requirements are, two or more head lamps and tail lamps, a horn, signal lights, illuminated license plate, approved braking systems, emission control, mirrors, windshield, speedometer, and seat belts.

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