Business owner ‘losing sleep’ over proposal to restrict motorized vehicle use on Grand County trails

Posted at 6:43 PM, Mar 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-19 09:37:50-04

GRAND COUNTY, Utah -- Companies centered on off-roading in Moab are worried their business could take a dramatic downturn following a new proposal that would restrict motorized vehicles on two popular trails.

"They are going to put me out of business, and I will not be able to feed my family now, and I'm going to have to look for another source of income, and I don't know where I'm going to go," said Kent Green, who is the owner of Moab Cowboy Country Off-Road Adventures.

Under the new Public Lands Initiative, proposed by Congressman Rob Bishop, about 150 miles of trails in Grand County would have motorized vehicle use restricted. Those trails would include Ten Mile Canyon Trail and Hey Joe Canyon Trail.

"I am losing sleep over this at night because it not only affects me, it affects everybody," Green said.

Green said those trails account for about 20 percent of his business, and he's not alone.

"Oh, in Moab I can think off the top of my head of at least 10 off-road businesses that use that area and also private individuals who come and visit Moab with their own rigs," Green said.

Environmentalists argue there would still be close to 2,500 miles of trail left for motorized vehicles in Grand County.

"The ATV community is used to getting their way 100 percent all the time," said Kevin Walker, who has lived in Moab for 25 years. "And unfortunately they are acting like a bunch of spoiled crybabies. They don't want to give up a single thing."

However, one Grand County councilman says the government has already taken enough.

"In 2008, the county working with BLM at that time closed down about half of the roads and trails that were in Grand County, there had been around 6,000 miles," said Councilman Lynn Jackson. "So any additional chipping away at that, year after year after year, is of concern."

Walker said he believes a balance is needed and said this proposal provides that, yet he said he feels more could still be done.

"Unfortunately, hiking along a motorcycle trail, that just doesn't work, you need to have some areas that are for quiet recreation, and some that are for motorized recreation," Walker said.

Walker also brings up the environmental impacts motorized vehicles have on the area.

"There is a huge amount of dust that's created by having the vegetation stripped away on all these dirt roads," Walker said. "If we're going to keep this place nice for future generations, we're going to have to lay down some rules."

Green said no one knows more about what's best for Moab than his family. He said they've been living and working here for seven generations.

"We've been taking care of this land for over 100 years, and we don't want to see it destroyed but we want to be able to use it," Green said. "I want to be able to take my grandkids where my dad took me and my grandpa took me but it's coming to a point where they just want to shut us all out.”