Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance

Off-Road Vehicles

Searching for Balance and Quiet in Utah’s Wilderness

Anyone who hikes the canyons and plateaus of southern Utah will inevitably hear the whine of off-road vehicles (ORVs) or see their telltale scars across the landscape.

Over the years, the BLM has done little to regulate the use of ORVs on public lands, even within areas proposed for wilderness designation.

Meanwhile, ORV use has skyrocketed in Utah and across the West.  In 2000, the number of registered ORVs in Utah stood at 83,000. Today, it’s over 200,000.

The proliferation of these machines does more than just shatter the peace and quiet of the backcountry, it leads to stream erosion and pollution, destruction of habitat, damage to archaeological sites, and increased conflicts between public land users.

SUWA is committed to ensuring that the wild country within America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act — and the streams, wildlife, native plants, archaeological sites, and solitude found there — are protected from the ORV use that has grown out of control in recent years.  Toward that end, we continue to:

  • Press the BLM to comply with its legal responsibility to designate specific ORV trails, and to do so in a way that minimizes conflicts with other users and protects the magnificent resource of Utah’s wild redrock country;

  • Provide the BLM and the public with information regarding the environmental impacts of ORV use and urge the agency to develop trail designations that make sense; and

  • Assist in the clean-up and restoration of ORV-damaged areas through service trips with our members and other partners in the conservation community.