Possible closure of trails to motorized vehicles in Grand Co. sparks debate

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MOAB, Utah -- Moab is known as one of the best places in the country for recreational vehicles, like jeeps and ATVs, but now there is talk about shutting down more than 100 acres of trails.

This issue is called the Public Lands Initiative. Hundreds of people attended a meeting in Grand County Tuesday. On one side you have mostly residents of Grand County and their families who have been riding and enjoying these trails for decades. While on the other side you have environmentalists who want to preserve as much of this land as they can.

"I want to be able to continue sharing my heritage with my children and carry on our family traditions. I want our lands to remain open and assessable to everyone to every type of user," said Moab resident Lisa Ceniceros.

Ceniceros said for generations her family has not only been enjoying, but living off of the trails that make Moab such a popular destination. According to the county, tourism supports 47 percent of private jobs in Grand County.

"I'm a big advocate of off-road recreation because that's the way I'm able to see this area. I can't go hiking, I can't go rock climbing, I can't go mountain biking. If I want to see these areas I got to go out in a motorized recreational vehicle," said David Adams.

Adams is in a wheel chair. He said limiting motorized use on trails is like discrimination. Under the Public Lands Initiative, 150 miles of trails inside the county would be restricted to motorized use.

Conservationists say residents need to understand it's for their own good.

"The best protection against climate change, global warming and so on is to have public lands," said Moab resident Marc Thomas. "You are seeing a lot of bitterness with old timers because the demographics are changing."

Under the proposal the mining industry would also be impacted and possibly wiped out. That could mean a loss of jobs and revenue, but conservationists say it also means an increase in your health.

"I think protecting our snow pack, protecting from more drilling, from more gas production and just protect that watershed, and that source is going to be very critical for the health of this community," said Kate Anderson.

Grand County is one of eight counties in eastern Utah that will be affected by this proposal. Each of these counties will make recommendations that will be passed onto representatives at the federal level, led by congressman Rob Bishop, who will make the final decision, most likely by June.

14 comments

  • D. Shane Rose

    “For our own good”?
    “Protect our snow pack”?
    “Watershed”?
    How does this work? How does closing off existing trails do any of this? These trails have been in use for a good long time, yet the area has not crumbled into dust. For our own good. Pfft! Thank you, oh high and mighty one for letting us all know what is best for us. It would be a joke except, somehow, people listen to this nonsense.

  • gayle

    this balony you gat 1 or idiot enviromentalists that do not even live in the area and they think it ok to tell us how to run our state and local lands. i say to you keep your head in your own area and quit telling us how to run our area. to many roads adn areas have been closed to access. what about someone who is in a wheel chair. think about it maybe they want to see it. but they will not because some idiot thinks it is in our best interest to close it. no stay away and let us take care of our area.

  • Charles Irvine

    How is it the trails throughout Utah, Colorado, Nevada, and other states, were attacked in the late 90’s and early 00’s only to be saved by laws on the books making existing trails exempt from closure; yet this is coming around again?

  • b. ingalls

    David Adams has to be one of the most selfish people I have ever heard of. To ruin the enjoyment of millions because he is unable to go there himself.

    • Chris

      Did you even read? Adams was one of the people against closures… due to the fact he is in a wheelchair, and motorized transport is his only way to see those trails.

  • Lisa Ceniceros

    You’ve spelled and pronounced my name wrong. I emailed Fox 13 last night and I still haven’t had a reply and my name has still not been corrected…

      • Lisa Ceniceros

        Donald, you don’t know me and you sure as Hell don’t know anything about me. It’s simple courtesy to be respectful and diligent when spelling and speaking another persons name. I am grateful that it’s been corrected, but that wasn’t my “priority” at all. If you had watched the above clip you would realize that my “priority” was to address my local representatives and give a voice to my opinions in regard to this heated issue. Which I did. I had no idea that I would be on the news and I was, quite frankly, surprised. I was caught up in the moment when Mr. Boyd asked me how to spell my name, which I did, not realizing who he was. Honestly, I was kind of annoyed that he was keeping me from getting back to my seat.

        If I had made a similar mistake, I would expect nothing less than the same from the individual that I accidentally offended. I know it wasn’t intentional and I’m not angry about it. I just wanted it to be correct. Not that I have to justify myself to you or to anyone else, but I feel that your snide comment needed to be addressed.

  • Andrea

    What fresh idiocy is this? Closure of public lands helps prevent global warming? On what planet? Do these people even realize that most of the areas they are all fired up about closing are mostly bare rock and sand, with a few junipers and desert vegetation? These trails have been used for many, many years. Closing them would have no impact on climate change or anything else, except that we people over the age of 60 and the handicapped would no longer have access to them. Whatever wild-eyed, limp-wristed, dreadlocked, tofu-slurping, Birkenstock-wearing, Obama-voting eco-Nazi came up with this stupid idea, needs to be recycled, preferably somewhere outside of Utah.

  • Will

    Bitterness from old timers? Go look around Marc Thomas, you are clueless. I guess the 30 something’s are now old timers. We come for the varity of activities and the beautiful land, take that away from people who use motors and your little town will not last. How bout you stop the drilling instead

  • jason

    This reminds me a lot of how the government first treated the Native Americans in the 1800’s. Took away the land that they had been living on for years and was the backyard for many of them. A lot of them made what was considered money off the land at the time. Then a group of people come along, new to the land, and take it all away and force the local people out because they just want it all for themselves. Don’t know how to share or anything; very selfish.

  • Bill

    They tried doing this same thing to the Rubicon Trail in California. The tree huggers are fighting hard to shut the trail down but somehow they were able to keep them open but now they have a Sherriff and State park rangers cruising the trail . if you drive off the trail too far like 10-15 feet and run over a bush or anything they can fine you and if they see you drinking anything on the trail you can get a DUI.. Good luck out there.. these tree huggers need to find something else to do besides pissing people off that are out to enjoy the land use..

  • Matt Dixon

    My family literally spends tens of thousands of dollars a year on our OHV’s, associated equipment, and the trips we take (including Moab). A group of environmentalists having a campfire after hiking the backcountry will emit more pollution than my whole family’s OHVs will over a weekend of hard use. Guess who’s picking up trash out there? It’s not the guy that cuts his toothbrush in half to save a few ounces in his pack. Its the evil offroaders. We’re so hell-bent on destroying natural resources that we come back from the trails with bags full of wind-blown trash.

    Old timers? I’m 37, I started riding when I was 12. The people I ride with are also in their 30’s. 95% of the people we meet while riding the trails are 25-60 years old. The kids in our little group range from 4 to 20 years old – that’s your demographic.

    It’s sad to see that the half-billion dollar OHV industry is so heavily targeted by the conservation groups. Remember that our money is funneled directly to rural areas where it has a much greater impact on the local economies. How many families do you think you’ll uproot from the Moab area if this passes and they can no longer make ends meet? Is it still “for their own good” when you’ve removed their primary income and they’re forced to relocate?

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