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ATV tour is 'a question of just about everything'

Carbon County has spectacular scenery but no trail system yet.

Sun Advocate publisher

There is no contiguous connected ATV trail across Carbon County.There is no set committee or leader to start and run an ATV jamboree like takes place in Richfield and its surrounding areas. No one has come forward to find a way to finance a venture such as a Carbon ATV tour. No clearances for use of BLM, SITLA or private properties that need to be crossed have been applied for or issued.

Yet last Thursday night during a meeting at the Carbon County Fairgrounds, some residents of the area began to dream. They began to talk about having a major ATV outing in the area, one that would start out small and eventually grow into something that could be of national consequence.

But the road is long to get there, and it isn't just a question of trails. It's a question of just about everything at this point.

"I asked you all to come because there seems to be some interest in the area for doing something like this," said Rhonda Peterson. "I have approached some of you about this and some of the OHV people and myself have met with Dave Levanger (Carbon County director of planning and zoning) and Ben Clements (manager of the GIS department) to highlight some of the prospective trails."

Peterson, director of the fairgrounds and the Carbon County Events Center, has been working with the Castle Country OHV club to look at bringing an event to the area in 2011. Many other people had also discussed the idea with her, consequently the meeting.

Carbon County has been working on putting together a cross county trail system for a number of years, but in recent times that effort has stalled somewhat. Some of that is due to lack of money, some due to lack of time for the county staff that has been working on the idea. There has also been opposition in other ways. While much of the county's land titles where such a trail could be constructed are owned by the government, some of it is in private hands, and that could make such a trail problematic. Link that problem with some communities that just don't like the idea of ATV's driving through their towns and the situation becomes much more difficult.

While some towns, such as East Carbon and Sunnyside, have set up trails and embraced the idea of ATV's coming through town on tours (and consequently frequenting retail businesses) others such as Scofield have resisted it.

To have a tour or jamboree, basically there must be a formal trail system, consisting of more than just gas field or ranch roads. Trails that are set for ATVs and or UTVs are highly desired by enthusiasts that operate the machines. Roads can be used to a certain extent, but trails are a very important part of making an event successful.

The committee also discussed impacts from the Bureau of Land Managements point of view and whether a large group of people in an area would require an impact study.

Kathy Hanna-Smith, director of the Carbon County tourism bureau, suggested that possibly the group should have someone from Richfield come and discuss how they started their jamboree. This would help in Carbon avoiding some mistakes that could be avoided.

Both Carbon County Sheriff James Cordova and Sergeant Bill Barnes of the Price Police Department offered their help in any way they could assist with such an event.

The final discussion point of the meeting was where to begin. While Clements was there with maps of the county and the trails as they exist, many felt that finding the trail that could be used to start the project off would be the first step.

The meeting adjourned with members saying they would like to continue the discussions and work toward such an event. Few, however, felt it could happen in 2011 with a date of 2012 more likely.

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