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Dry Canyon ATV use shut down
Containment: Officials say off-road recreation has gotten out of hand
By Joe Baird
The Salt Lake Tribune

Salt Lake Tribune
LINDON - What do you get when you combine booming population growth and the runaway popularity of all-terrain vehicles in a small mountainside community?
A real mess on the hill.
ATV use above this Utah County city has gotten so out of hand that U.S. Forest Service and Lindon officials on Thursday announced that all vehicle access will be shut down in the Dry Canyon area. They hope to eliminate what has grown into 13 miles of ATV trails on the bench above the city.
"This area has been a playground for Utah County for years," said Pam Gardner, Pleasant Grove District ranger for the Uintah National Forest. "When there was less population here, it was manageable. But as the years have gone on the impacts have increased. We're at the point where we have to do something about it."
Technically, the Dry Canyon area is already off-limits to motorized vehicle use, save an access road to a city water storage facility. But four-wheel drive vehicles have always traversed the mountainside. And following the construction of a firebreak road to battle a canyon blaze in the late-1980s, vehicle use increased, then mushroomed in the last decade as ATVs created a spidery network of trails.
The loss of vegetation and soil erosion, Gardner said, also lead to water pollution. "It costs time and money to repair the damage that's done by a few irresponsible users," she said.
ATV trespassers have gone around USFS gates and barriers to access the trails. Gardner says the new plan calls for backhoes to create deep "pocks" in the trails, rendering them difficult, if not impossible to use.
Lindon Mayor Larry Ellertson acknowledges that such aggressive closures will likely anger some of his constituents - he's running for Gary Herbert's soon-to-be-vacated Utah County Commission seat this fall - but he says there is little choice.
"Unfortunately, we've earned the right not to use the land," Ellertson said.
Ellertson is spearheading a movement to streamline anti-ATV ordinances all along the east bench in Utah County. Some cities have already passed ordinances, he said; others are in the process of reviewing the proposed statutes.
"If we don't do this, people will just move to the next area," he said. "We need to get it under control, and sometimes you have to take strong stands to get people's attention."

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