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Not all in Moab happy about national park ATV ban

Not all in Moab happy about national park ATV ban. (Ginna Roe, KUTV)
Not all in Moab happy about national park ATV ban. (Ginna Roe, KUTV)
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Friday would have been the first day for ATVs to be allowed in five of Utah’s National Parks, but at the last minute, The National Park Service reversed the decision.

The rule would have conformed to a 2008 state law that allows any “street-legal” vehicle on state and county roads.

A number of Moab businesses signed a letter asking the park service to reconsider allowing ATVs. On Friday, signs at the entrance of Arches National Park read “No ATV/UTV. Ban still in effect.”

“There’s a lot of people who did want to see it happen,” Kent Green, owner of Moab Cowboy Off Road Adventures said.

He said many in Moab’s ATV/UTV community were looking forward to riding in some of Utah’s most beautiful spots.

“As long as you are street legal UTV or ATV you should be able to access the national parks like everyone else,” he said.

But many in Moab don’t share Green’s opinion.

Jacques Handler, General Manager of Moab Cyclery, one of the businesses that signed the letter to the park service, said there’s no place for off-road vehicles in national parks.

“I actually feel strongly about not allowing ATVs in the national parks,” Handler said. “I think we go to the national parks for peace and quiet and solitude and not to hear that drone of motorized vehicles.”

But Green said other noisy vehicles like motorcycles, diesel trucks and RVs are allowed in the park.

“Responsible people should be allowed in the national parks with their OHV,” Green said.

Those against ATVs in the park are also concerned about conservation. Handler said the ATV community can be notorious for going off trails.

“I think the vast majority of locals are glad the decision was reversed,” Handler said.

Not Green.

“Why should I be punished because I choose to recreate different than they do,” he said.

“You have every right to recreate to a certain extent, until your experience starts to impose on others' experience,” Handler responded.

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Green said he will continue to fight for access to national parks, but in the meantime, he will continue to drive responsibly on the trails he's allowed to drive on.

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