Ride with Respect Year in Review


December 28, 2010
Ride with Respect Year in Review
By Clif Koontz

  The TPA is a major supporter of the Ride with Respect (RWR) in Moab.  The TPA BOD would like for all to see their end of year report.  RWR is doing a lot to protect our sport in the Moab area.” Keep this in mind the next time you are riding in Utah.

Email as written by Clif Koontz and reprinted with permission:

For Ride with Respect, 2010 has proven to be another productive year in a variety of ways. While maintaining Sovereign Trail and our volunteer patrol program, we’ve begun expanding our trails-conservation service to other areas.

When RwR was featured in American Motorcyclist magazine (http://www.ama-cycle.org/magazine/2010/October/index.asp), Dale Parriott and I figured that would be the year’s highlight. More than ever before, AMA is promoting responsible recreation along with racing and street-riding issues.

But then came the National Trails Award for Outstanding Trail Sharing (http://moabtimes.com/view/full_story/10756630/article-Local-group-receives-national-award-for-work-on-shared-use-trails). In the work of outdoor recreation, being recognized by American Trails is like getting an Emmy! If you’ve ever contributed time or money toward RwR, then this is your award, too.
This past summer, RwR assisted Utah Trust Lands Administration (TLA) with their first comprehensive OHV travel plan (http://tlamap.trustlands.utah.gov/plat/help/lasaltrails.htm). As we proposed, the South Block of the La Sal Mountains features a singletrack loop and ATV loop. Some of you may notice that a third of the singletrack has been closed, despite being comprised of viable routes. Please bear in mind that the ATV loop is still entirely intact, and still fun on two wheels. Furthermore, the North and South blocks are set aside to benefit University of Utah and USU. TLA went out of its way to incorporate RwR’s input. As we finish marking the routes this summer, we look forward to a management partnership. Given visitor compliance, RwR predicts enhanced recreation opportunities in the South Block. Statewide, OHV riding and camping has been displaced onto trust lands. The La Sal Mountain pilot project is TLA’s good-faith effort to accommodate the public while fulfilling its fiduciary responsibility to educational institutions.

Also on the planning front, RwR participated in the BLM process to close a short-yet-connective motorized singletrack in the White Wash area. With support from Blue Ribbon Coalition and Colorado Trails Preservation Alliance, RwR persuaded BLM to pledge the addition of a motorized singletrack nearby in lieu of this closed one. In the White Wash area, BLM’s 2008 travel plan is actually quite reasonable, designating the vast majority of OHV routes. The few closures stem from legitimate concerns about riparian zones, private property, and the escape routes of bighorn sheep to higher terrain. We commend BLM on implementing this trail system, and will join the agency in the field next spring.

At the request of USFS, RwR rerouted the most erosive part of Red Ledges Trail in the Abajo Mountains. A few days and a few hundred yards later, this primitive singletrack should be more sustainable, safe, and satisfying for all. Next year, USFS will contribute labor toward a much larger reroute. Visitors to the Abajos and La Sals may have noticed newly-posted travel restrictions. Granted, the travel plans have some shortfalls, particularly in the La Sals. But they’ve been law for a couple decades. RwR hopes that frustrated visitors will channel their energy toward improving these plans. In the next few years, participate in their revision. In the meantime, get to know local USFS planners. And, please, get organized. If postmarked before the new year, your tax-deductible donation to RwR can still count for 2010.

On a more somber note, we extend sympathy and gratitude to Utah State Parks Ranger Brody Young. Ranger Young is slowly recovering from bullet wounds sustained last month while patrolling public lands. In our experience, Brody protected the land and its visitors through citations when necessary, and through education whenever possible. Brody has enforced the law for all the right reasons, and we need more rangers like him. To assist with the uncovered part of his medical bills, you can pitch in for the Young family http://rangerbrody.org.

Next year RwR has larger on-the-ground projects planned with BLM, USFS, and TLA. It’s ambitious, so we’ll need you to match the support from Utah State Parks and Grand County. Until then, remember that snow is nature’s way of ensuring our water supply, and our thirst for trails come spring.

Clif Koontz

Program Director
Ride with Respect