Nearly 600 people in town for the annual Jeep Safari last weekend signed petitions opposing proposed federal wilderness designation of portions of the Moab Rim Trail.

Tim Berry, land-use officer for the Red Rock 4-Wheelers Club, said this week he counted 590 signatures of people from 21 states on the petitions, which had been part of a protest booth at the Safari registration site.Berry, petition organizer, said that after he has gathered 2,000 signatures from ORV groups nationwide, the petitions will be presented to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and copies will be sent to Utah's congressmen.

The petitions call for excluding from pending wilderness designation the Egg Ranch Fin and Death Row portions of the Behind-the-Rocks BLM Wilderness Study Area. The two sections comprise about three miles of the 14-mile Moab Rim Trail, Berry said.

Both portions are also identified as restricted areas in the Grand Management Plan of the BLM Grand Resource Area, Moab District.

"I know there were 2,000 people in town this weekend. I don't know why I didn't get that many (signatures)," Berry said.