Thanks to the many other organizations and individuals who donated their time and money, 2014 was a very productive year for Ride with Respect.
While most of our resources went to trail work, we also focused on a few education and advocacy projects to promote responsible recreation. This scope of work was made possible by the generosity of OHV riders as well as continued support from Grand County, Utah State Parks, the Colorado Trails Preservation Alliance, and the Yamaha Outdoor Access Initiative. (I know, the attached picture has an orange bike, but the rider has since traded it in for one of those new, blue 250F’s.) If you have yet to contribute, there’s still time to send a tax-deductible check to Ride with Respect at 395 McGill Avenue in Moab, Utah 84532.
WHITE WASH – In the “Dubinky” riding area, RwR’s trail crew began with some finishing touches on last year’s projects. First, although vandals knocked down many fences that had kept riders on the designated route through Dead Cow and The Tubes, we were quick to build stronger fences with better explanations for restoring riparian areas. Second we opened the reroutes of three steep hills along Enduro Loop, and followed up to ensure that the new routes properly settle in. These projects were featured in a recent edition of Discover Moab.
Then we moved on to three more reroutes of Enduro Loop (see bottom picture in PDF), including one section that’s shared with ATV riders south of White Wash. In each case, the new routes are loose, but will develop into flowing trails that riders are likely to prefer. More so, they’ll make it a lot easier to defend access in future. In planning the reroutes, BLM did all the environmental clearances, and provided all the necessary supplies. This partnership creates a joint buy-in that ought to support Enduro Loop for generations.
LA SAL’S – In the mountains above Moab, we maintained the trail system at Upper Twomile, and installed a couple more cattle guards that were provided by SITLA. On USFS land, we installed several rolling dips to properly drain an ATV trail near Black Ridge (see top picture in PDF). This is one of three areas where RwR was able to borrow a mini dozer from Utah State Parks. The agency’s OHV program loaned the machine, transported it, and trained Dale Parriott and me to operate it. This is a good example of where your money goes when registering an OHV in Utah.
SOVEREIGN TRAIL – Our work on Sovereign Trail consisted mostly of maintenance (see middle picture in PDF) and planning for trail use and nearby camping with the Utah division of Forestry, Fire, and State Lands. In December, a large boulder blocked the north end of Sovereign Singletrack. It could’ve been broken up and cleared out of the way, but above it are more boulders that could roll into the same spot. Fortunately several more contributors stepped up to route the trail away from the unstable area for good.
EDUCATION – One cost of Moab’s strong tourism industry is more traffic on the trails. On top of that, some machines have gotten larger, faster, and more user-friendly for people who are new to the backcountry. To foster safe and courteous use of trails, Tread Lightly produced customized posters of its Ride On Utah campaign. So far RwR has distributed a dozen of these posters to OHV-related businesses in Moab. In addition to riding on designated routes, they encourage reducing your speed, sound, and dust when passing fellow trail users to leave a good impression.
To guide the land managers in providing diverse recreation opportunities while conserving natural resources, a new book is being produced by the National OHV Conservation Council (NOHVCC). As one of several reviewers, I volunteered forty hours to provide feedback for the author. The final draft should establish a practical framework for land managers all over the world. In the meantime, NOHVCC helped produce a great educational video for OHV riders. Contact the Montana Trail Vehicle Riders Association if you’d like to utilize this video in your state.
ADVOCACY – From 2012 you may recall that U.S. Congressman Rob Bishop turned to county governments for his Eastern Utah Public Lands Initiative (EUPLI). The local input would help craft a bill that could benefit all stakeholders. It has the potential to provide stability for various industries and conservation interests. Since RwR has invested over ten-thousand hours toward trail infrastructure on public lands, we have participated through Grand County in EUPLI. We began the year with trips including one to the state capital at the invitation of BlueRibbon Coalition.
Soon our attention returned to Grand County, where public meetings allowed residents to vent their frustrations about the current state of public lands: Moab Times article.
Fortunately the county followed up with more constructive meetings, and RwR participated in a working group on the Big Flat and Labyrinth Rims area, which includes White Wash. Ultimately the county council incorporated many interests into a win-win proposal. We hope that the new county council will honor this work when making recommendations to Rep. Bishop.
MOAB RENDEZVOUS – Next year there will be a new way to support RwR. From April 16th through the 19th, the Rocky Mountain Adventure Riders will host its first Moab Rendezvous event for any kind of motorcyclist who likes to get dirty: www.rmariders.org
The group is permitted to lead rides on trails from the wide-open Lockhart Basin to the tight and twisty Sovereign Singletrack. I will be there to assist the event hosts, as most of the proceeds will go directly to RwR. Fifty riders have already signed up, but there’s room for more. The Moab Rendezvous will surely be the most fun way to support trails and their surroundings.
Although there’s a lot to prepare for, winter forces us to slow down and reflect. I am grateful for the widespread support of RwR, which is a tremendous team effort. Here’s to health and happiness this holiday season.
Ride with Respect
395 McGill Avenue
Moab, UT 84532