Off-Road Vehicles Will Soon Be Allowed in Utah’s National Parks

Martin Kuprianowicz | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Utah is allowing off-road vehicles in their national parks.
Off-road vehicles will now be allowed in Utah’s national parks on November 1st. Credit: Dirt Trax

Off-road vehicles will soon be allowed in Utah’s national parks. The catch is they must stay on the road.

Yet there are concerns. Conservationists fear rule-breakers will cause permanent damage at Utah’s five most popular national parks — Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Zion. Currently, ATVs and UTVs are banned from the parks.

ATVs ripping
ATVs will be among the off-road vehicles allowed in all Utah national parks. Credit: Associated Press

The change will take place on November 1st. According to the new law, anyone caught driving off the trail will be cited.

National Parks have a policy of following state traffic laws, and in the past decade, Utah law has changed to make certain off-highway vehicles (OHVs) street legal if they’re registered with the state.

The Narrows, UT
The Narrows, Zion National Park, UT. Credit: The Outbound Collective

On paper, the decision is harmless. A common misconception about OHVs is that people will have free range of the parks and actively destroy them. The reality is that thousands of Utahans own OHVs and the vast majority are responsible stewards of public lands and abide by state laws.

Angel's Landing hike
Angel’s Landing, Zion National Park, UT. Credit: MK

However, there is potential for major repercussions concerning illegal use.  Many are concerned that not everyone will keep to the roads and the additional damage park rangers may do in pursuit of these people would only compound it.

There also won’t be any reasonable law enforcement to prevent the damage from happening.

What’s for certain is that the legislation concerning national parks in Utah is changing. How the decision plays out for the national parks will be up to the off-road vehicle owners of Utah.

A big arch at Arches.
Arches National Park, UT. Credit: Wikipedia

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2 thoughts on “Off-Road Vehicles Will Soon Be Allowed in Utah’s National Parks

  1. Absolutely disgusting. Jeeping in canyonlands will be ruined by side by side utvs. Maybe the writer of this article has not been to moab but over the years the UTVers have ruined all of the trails and decimated local trail ethics. This will have repercussions that will have a lasting effect on our natural areas. Btw people in utvs cannot drive and do not know how to offroad. They literally couldn’t do it it in a real jeep on what had originally been Jeep roads. #UTVsSUCK

    1. This is just another move by Utah to undermine ANYTHING the federal government does and any public land protections. Utah exceptionalism at it’s best. Some of these people are going to leave the road, even the possibility one person out of a million leaving road is enough to make this a horrible idea.

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