Four years of concerted efforts to control off-road vehicle use in the foothills behind Pleasant Grove is paying off.
Off-road vehicle traffic on forestland behind the city is down considerably from previous years, said Steve Winslow, a forest service hydrologist. The Forest Service, working with Pleasant Grove police and the Utah County Sheriff's Department, stepped up enforcement of ORV regulations in 1987.The Forest Service also began an aggressive public education program to raise awareness of the damage ORVs can cause.
The vehicles are responsible for the scarred look of the foothills in Utah Valley. They also cause watershed damage, increase fire hazards and disrupt wildlife habitat.
The apparent decrease in ORV traffic in Pleasant Grove may be a hollow victory, however.
Officials say riders have shifted to state lands near Orem City's water tank, in Provo Canyon and by Utah Lake as well as to private land near Y Mountain in Provo.
On Y Mountain, riders "never use the same trail twice," said Bob Easton, Pleasant Grove district ranger.
Seven Peaks, which borders the mountain, is considering fencing its new golf course to prevent vehicles from tearing up the property.
Addressing ORV use along Y Mountain is hampered by mixed property ownership and a lack of coordination among the owners and local agencies, Winslow said. Law enforcement agencies are reluctant to enforce regulations there because the property is not posted closed.
Brigham Young University owns some of the land at the base of the mountain, while the rest is owned by a private individual.
Low water levels at Utah Lake have exposed miles of lake bed, attracting hordes of riders, said deputy sheriff Alex Hunt. The low water levels also revealed historic Indian ruins, which are threatened by the vehicles.
Hunt said parents are taking their children down to the lake to ride, apparently unaware the area is not open to ORV use.
Where to ride
Some of the trails open to off-road vehicles are:
- Squaw Peak Trail from Provo Canyon to Snowslide Canyon in Hobble Creek Canyon.
- Tibble Fork Road from American Fork Canyon to the golf course area in Wasatch Mountain State Park in Midway.
- Monks Hollow Trail in Diamond Fork Canyon.
- The West Desert.
For more information on trails open to off-road vehicles, see the Uinta National Forest Service's Opportunity Guide, available at Forest Service offices in Pleasant Grove, Provo and Spanish Fork.