Owners of recreational vehicles are going to the legislature this year to ask for a larger slice of their "fair share."
Senate Bill 4, sponsored by Sen. John Holmgren, R/Box Elder, and Rep. Donald LeBaron, R/Utah, asks that the ceiling on funds for off-highway vehicle projects be raised from $400,000 to $600,000 annually.A recent report shows that there are more than 43,000 registered off-highway vehicles in Utah. It also shows that each owner will use an average of 164 gallons of gas each year.
Through gasoline purchases, owners will contribute more than $1.3 million to the Utah Department of Highways for road maintenance . . . "For roads we won't and don't use," noted one user.
Four years ago the legislature authorized the first funds for OHV programs. With those funds the Division of Parks and Recreation has:
- Started an OHV education program to teach ATV, off-highway motorcycle and snowmobile use. Thus far more than 4,000 students have received instruction.
- Through a matching fund program, an initial investment of $291,750 was increased to $797,497 for OHV projects in Utah.
- Purchased a trail construction machine.
- Federal and local agencies have been actively introducing designated land and trail systems to OHV use.
- Two new LMC snowcats have been purchased and three more acquired on a lease-purchase agreement for grooming more than 575 miles of snowmobile trails.
"But," pointed out Craig Cazier, president of the Utah Snowmobile Association, "all we're doing is keeping up with what we have. Each year, though, demands increase. A lot of out-of-state snowmobilers, for example, are showing a lot of interest in coming to Utah.
"What we have here in Utah is unique. People hear about Utah and they want to visit."
By comparison, Idaho has an extensive snowmobiling complex that includes a fleet of 25 groomers and more than 5,000 miles of trails.
Eventually, users would like to link an enlarged trail system in Utah with Idaho's.
"This is something we need," pointed out Cazier. "We need more facilities, for both Utahns and out-of-staters."