A Fight is Brewing More than ATVs in Utah National Parks

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White Rim

Remote dirt access roads like the White Rim Road in Canyonlands will quickly be open to off-road autos.

A new rule enabling off-road car use in Utah’s national parks is set to take impact on November 1, regardless of the objections of some senior National Park Service employees in the state who say that the policy will harm fragile desert landscapes

The new policy will permit street-legal ORVs—also recognized as off-highway autos, or OHVs—on all roads, contradicting strict guidelines against such machines in most parks. The agency did not accept public comment on the transform, which was announced on September 24 by Acting Regional Director Palmer “Chip” Jenkins in a memo to park administrators. It has framed the transform as a move to align park policy with Utah state law, which makes it possible for registered ORVs on any road open to automobiles.

The autos should meet specific security requirements to qualify as “street-legal,” and should be registered and insured in order to enter the parks. Regions impacted by the rule contain Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Zion, Arches, and Bryce Canyon National Parks, along with Dinosaur National Monument, and Glen Canyon National Recreation Location.

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