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Front Page » September 2, 2003 » Local News » Organizer Lobbies Cities for Approval Of Local ATV Trail ...
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Organizer Lobbies Cities for Approval Of Local ATV Trail Project

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Staff reporter

In addition to tackling challenging trails, all-terrain vehicle riders tend to be laid back while relaxing. A proposed ATV trail through Carbon County could benefit the local economy, attracting ATV riders from across the country and various locations outside the United States. According to the project advocates, the majority of the avid ATV riders tend to belong to family-oriented groups and many of the enthusiasts are older individuals.

For several years, Matt Rauhala has been working on developing an all-terrain vehicle trail system in Carbon County that would compare to the Piute Trail in central Utah.

In the last few weeks, Rauhala has spent time with two city councils regarding the project. Approval on allowing the trail to pass through the towns would complete the process of getting rights of ways.

"The growth of the ridership on the Piute Trail tells us that this could be great for the economy of the area," pointed out Rauhala at the Sunnyside City Council meeting on Aug. 19.

"In 1995, that trail had 23,660 riders travel on it. By 1999, the figure had grown to 56,690. The effect on business in the area has been tremendous. Before the trail was put in place, Marysvale had two business licenses issued in town. Now there are 20," continued the project organizer.

While ATV riders often stay in trailers, campers and motor-homes, many do not and every individual riding an ATV spends about $75 per day for food, gas, lodging and other things, explained Rauhala

"It is estimated that for each dollar a person that uses the route spends, it rolls over 45 times before it leaves the Piute-Sevier County area," stated the project organizer. "It is generally accepted that the Piute Trail system has bolstered the central Utah economy by $17 million per year."

A trail system that starts in Wellington, travels up Nine Mile Canyon, across Bruin Point, down through Sunnyside-East Carbon, on to Mounds and back to Wellington could have a positive effect on Carbon County's economy, said Rauhala.

The trail would cost about $150,000 to develop, pointed out Rauhala at the Aug. 19 meeting.

The proposed trail has received $6,000 from the Carbon County Recreation and Transportation Special Service District to fund an engineering study on the project.

"The only place we don't have a right of way through is these two towns," he told the council. "We can go around the towns, but then it would be of no benefit to your present and future businesses."

Rauhala has asked East Carbon and Sunnyside to designate routes to stores and eating establishments in the cities so ATV riders can patronize the businesses.

"These trails could bring in a lot of business," noted the project organizer. "People come from all over the country to ride on the Piute Trail. In fact many come from outside the United States to do so."

At the Sunnyside meeting, several citizens were concerned with dust, noise and speed problems. It has only been a couple of years since the city stopped people from riding ATVs and motorcycles in an open space in the middle of town.

Discussion ensued about the possibility of paving the trail through town or creating the section with a gravel base.

The council appeared to support the idea, but seemed unsure about Sunnyside's role in the matter.

The United States Bureau of Land Management is supportive of the project, pointed out Rauhala. The support is important because much of the land for the trail is administered by the federal agency.

Sunnyside officials took the matter under advisement.

On Aug. 26, the East Carbon City Council also discussed the trail. Rauhala approached the officials at a prior meeting about the project.

"I am somewhat concerned about who will be able to drive ATVs on the trail and on the road to the businesses in town," said East Carbon council member Joyce Caviness."Will they need a drivers license or some type of safety certification?"

According to the law, individuals younger than age 16 and people without valid drivers licenses must be legally certified through a training program.The law does not require people ages 16 and older with valid drivers licenses to become certified in operating an ATV.

A preliminary ride is scheduled for late September.

"The point is that communities where the trail passes by can put together organized rides and benefit economically all year round," stated Rauhala.

"One of the advantages we have over the Piute Trail is that this could be a year round trail. They have to close theirs in the winter. We would not have to do that for the most part," concluded the project advocate.

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