The Resources Page is intended to provide you with additional information that will help you enjoy your ATV experience. We want all of you to be safe while you are out relaxing and rejuvenating from the demands and pressures of every day life. Please take some time to study and become familiar with the material we have provided in this section. It is our intent to keep this information up to date and to add additional information as we see fit.
OHV Personal Conduct
Responsible OHV driving involves more than being responsible for yourself. It also includes maintaining an acute awareness of other users and their perception of your activities. You are the less “natural” visitor in the eyes of the non-motorized user, and they will be much more critical of your behavior than their own.
One way to “personalize” your interaction with other users is to stop and turn off your OHV and wait for the non-motorized user to pass before you proceed. While stopped, greet them courteously. If wearing a Helmut take it off. Although this may seem unnecessary to you, it personalizes you to them. It affords them the opportunity to realize you are a person instead of an “Alien OHVer” who has nothing in common with them. The time this takes is insignificant and will contribute to a positive experience for both parties involved.
We are among the most visible (sound, speed, and emissions) users; therefore we need to be conscientious in our conduct. As we develop the ability to recognize and acknowledge other user’s perspectives regarding our recreational activities, we are better equipped to resolve differences and minimize our impact on their experience. Apply the following guidelines to make everyone’s experience more enjoyable.
• Protect your travel privilege by staying on the road and trails!
• Honor seasonal and permanent trail closures.
• Be considerate of others on the road or trail.
• Motorized users always yield to non-motorized users (hikers, horses, and bikes). When encountering hikers and horses on trails, pull over and shut off your engine. Remove your helmet and let them pass. Avoid any sudden movement or loud noises. Let them get far enough away before you restart your engine as to not startle or irritate them. Use the extra few minutes spent on the side of the trail waiting for someone to pass to stretch your legs, get a drink, and adjust your gear. If a conflict ensues even after your best effort to accommodate others, you may want to walk away (drive away). Notify the local land manager about the incident with as many details as possible to enable them to reduce future conflicts.
• Ask riders what to do to facilitate passing. Follow at a safe distance until they reach the next suitable place to pass. Then pass slowly and as quietly as possible. One little thrust of the throttle can leave behind a shower of gravel, dust, snow.
• Yield the right of way to those passing or traveling uphill.
• Stay on the right side of the road or trail especially on corners and blind spots.
• Drive under control at safe speeds considering the terrain and possibility of meeting others.
• Travel in the middle of the trail to avoid widening it. Trail widening is unsightly and expensive to repair.
• Do not alter manufacture’s muffler system for driving on trails. Loud exhaust systems are annoying to other users.
• Limit racing to closed tracks.
• In campgrounds, turn off and push your machine; or, only drive directly to and from your campsite. Minimize noise around others by using a slow constant and reduced speed.
• Do not use an OHV for an alternative babysitter. Ensure children are properly trained, equipped, and supervised at all times.
• Avoid spooking livestock you encounter.
• Avoid late night driving near campsites, lodges and populated areas unless so designated.
• Snowmobiles should operate at a minimum speed near cross-country skiers, snow-shoers, and other non-motorized recreationists.
• Do not drive on tracks made by or for cross-country skiers.
• Never litter. Always carry out what you carry in. Carry a trash bag with you to pick up and pack out other people’s trash you may come upon.
• Always choose to TREAD LIGHTLY.
• Adults should accompany and supervise drivers of ages 8-15 at all times.
The trailhead is one of the most frustrating areas of conflict for everyone. Whether you are trying to get out on a trail or load up and get home, you should observe and share a few basic courtesies to minimize bad experiences.
• First at the trailhead – park closest to the trail, others fill in from there.
• Park conservatively – don’t take up more room than necessary.
• Don’t leave your rig jackknifed.
• Don’t block a vehicle that is not in your group.
• Be aware of other users on multiple use roads and trails.
• Treat others, as you like to be treated.
• Respect other recreationists, respect their rights to quite and safety. Drive slowly to avoid accidents and conflicts.
• Trailheads are not training grounds. Train newcomers to your sport away from the trailhead. Don’t subject others to the possibility of an accident or unnecessary frustrations.
• Perform tuning and repairs elsewhere, avoid excessive sound that offends other users.
Wildlife Interactions and Domesticated Animals
Driving OHVs usually involves passing through wildlife habitat. As such, caution must be used to avoid wildlife harassment. Although wildlife is less cautious around vehicles than are pedestrians, you are still perceived as a threat and cause some stress. If you use your OHV for wildlife viewing or photography, respect their comfort zone. To reduce their stress, drive past them slowly to allow them to remain in the area and return to their former activity. When your route is blocked, stop your OHV and allow the animal to move away on its own.
Winter is an especially demanding period for all wildlife. Critical energy reserves are burned when they are harassed or moved unnecessarily. Where possible avoid wildlife, particularly big game. Give as wide a berth as possible if close contact is necessary. A slow-moving vehicle is perceived as less of a threat than a stopped vehicle. Continue riding past them and take pictures from a distance.
Some members of the public perceive using OHV during hunting seasons as an unfair advantage for hunters. Complications associated with the explosive growth of OHV use while hunting has aggravated land managers and resulted in many restrictions. Off-route travel and continuous operations in hunting areas are inexcusable abuses that must be stopped. Shooting from, or carrying a loaded weapon on/in an OHV is illegal and may result in the loss of the vehicle and weapon. Furthermore, OHVs should never be used to pursue or harass wildlife.
Respect for wildlife and the environment must take priority over recreation. Find a way to avoid even the appearance of conflict. The popular activity of antler collecting is another example of an impact on wildlife areas where consideration for wildlife and the environment must be better recognized. Springtime travel may also conflict with wildlife use of birthing or nesting areas. Although these areas should be signed and identified, you may enter an area that is not. If a conflict exists, exit the area immediately. Honor seasonal or permanent closures for wildlife protection.
We have a responsibility to take care for our natural environment. With land-access comes the responsibility to preserve and protect our environment and access privileges for future generations. We must make every effort to avoid damaging the environment and causing conflicts with other users. Land managers will support OHV use only as long as we address their concerns and are willing to help protect their areas of responsibility.
Our continued privilege to access remote areas through OHV use is dependant on our conduct and degree of responsibility. Past abuses of the land by careless OHV operators have jeopardized or eliminated future access in some areas.
TREAD LIGHTLY originated from a task force created by the U.S. Forest Service in 1985. This program emphasizes low impact principles, applicable to all forms of recreational activities. Its goal is to balance the needs of people who enjoy outdoor recreation with the needs of the environment. The ancient Native American proverb, “ We did not inherit the earth from our parents, we are borrowing it from our children”, captures the philosophy of the organization. Tread Lightly Inc, is dedicated to spreading the word of responsible outdoor recreation. It recognizes that backcountry areas are places to seek solitude and “natural experiences” away from crowds and pressures of everyday urban life. Escaping to those places should include a commitment to protect and preserve our public lands.
Make it a habit to clean up after yourself and others. It is difficult to get upset about an OHV coming out of the backcountry when it is carrying a garbage bag full of trash.
Impacts of sound on the experience of other recreationists can be significant. We must become more aware of that impact and make a concerted effort to reduce this conflict by limiting our sound emissions. Although wildlife appears to readily adapt to OHV operations, people are less tolerant of the sounds and sight of motorized vehicles. By increasing operator awareness of negative sound impacts, we can contribute to a more satisfactory experience for everyone.
Mufflers and spark arresters are required on all ATVs and Off-highway motorcycles operated on public lands. Modifications to exhaust systems have historically produced more offensive sound levels. Recent developments and attention to sound levels by manufactures and aftermarket specialty companies have resulted in less offensive sound levels. Continued demands for quiet OHVs combined with peer pressure will ensure less conflict with those whose objection are truly related to noise.
Regular maintenance of exhaust systems will result in a noticeable reduction of noise. Consult your owner’s manual for the maintenance needs of your OHV.
Emissions Management (Exhaust)
For two-cycle motors, comprehensive studies confirm that the investment in higher-grade synthetic oil reduces particulate emissions, as well as accompanying “haze”. Proper tuning also results in lower emission levels and improves overall performance. Additional benefits of quality synthetic oil are fewer fowled spark plugs, decreased engine ware, reduced engine deposits, and improved performance. The cost offset in a year or two is negligible, and is normally beneficial. As OHV advocates, we have to educate others and ourselves about the benefits of new technological advancements.
Properly tuned and maintained four-cycle motors yield even more favorable results, including reduced emissions and enhanced performance. The expenses of proper preventive maintenance procedures are significantly less than the long-term repair expenses accompanying a poor maintenance schedule. Proper lubricants, clean filters and new spark plugs will assure an extended engine life and improved performance as well as better odds of enjoying a successful round trip venture into the backcountry.
Use the appropriate grade of fuel for your OHV. Substandard octane levels will contribute to increased emission levels and simultaneously reduce engine performance. Be cautious of additives advertised as a “miracle cure” for whatever ails your OHV. While some additives may provide short-term solutions to a problem, appropriate maintenance is necessary for sustained optimal performance.
Ethics & Trail Etiquitte
We are visitors to our favorite recreation areas. Our presence, although temporary, does have an effect on the area while we are visiting. Because of that effect, we have a responsibility to leave the area in as good, if not better, condition than when we arrived. We must also respect other recreationist’s rights to seek a pleasurable experience as well. Courtesy and respect for people and the environment will contribute to a positive experience.
The following “Code” defines the Ethics embraced by users of Off-Highway Vehicle’s. Your cooperation and support are necessary for the success of this program.
Code of Ethics
• I will be a good sports enthusiast. I recognize that people judge all OHV operators by my actions. I will use my influence to promote fair conduct.
• I will always use appropriate protective gear.
• I will not litter trails or camping areas. I will not pollute streams or lakes.
• I will respect other’s property and rights.
• I will lend a helping hand when I see someone in distress.
• I will not interfere with or harass other recreationists or users. I will respect their right to enjoy our shared areas.
• I will act responsibly when dealing with other recreationists that have an “agenda” about OHV users.
• I will know and obey all federal, state, and local Law/Rules regulating the operation of my OHV in areas where I ride.
• I will not damage living trees, shrubs, or other natural features. I will not travel in wet areas.
• I will not harass wildlife. I will avoid areas posted for the protection or feeding of wildlife.
• I will stay on or in areas open to my OHV. I will not travel where prohibited.
• I will never ride alone. I will let others know of my planned route, destination, and arrival/return time.
• I will maintain my OHV in optimal operating condition to minimize impacts to the environment and other recreationists.
• I will respect areas of historical value to preserve them for future generations.
• I will respect areas of archaeological significance.
• I will travel in a manner as to leave as small of a ”foot print” as possible.
• I will not drive/ride under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
1. Find a place to go.
• Check with local OHV dealers.
• Contact local area OHV clubs
• Contact Federal, State, and County Land Managers (BLM, Forest Service, Dept. of Natural Resources, County tourism Board).
• Get maps of the area you are planning to visit and confirm the routes you would like to take are open for OHV use.
• Use the Internet to find out as much as possible about the area.
2. Laws and Regulations
• Register your OHV. All OHVs driven or transported in Utah must be registered.
• Determine equipment requirements (exhaust, spark arrester, lighting, etc.).
• Have required state education certificates and/or state drivers license.
• Know and plan to avoid areas where travel is restricted.
• It is illegal to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs while driving a motorized vehicle.
• Light are required to be used ½ hour after sunset to ½ hour before sunrise.
• Helmets must be worn and properly fastened by all OHV drivers and passengers under age 18 on or in all open motorized vehicles.
• A brightly colored whip flag must be attached to OHV and at least eight feet off the ground while being operated on sand dunes (Little Sahara, Coral Pink Sand Dunes, Knolls, and Sand Hollow).
3. Know your OHV
• Know your owners manual.
• Make sure you are comfortable operating your OHV.
• Check all fluids, tires, controls, lighting, etc.
• Make sure it is properly maintained.
• Make sure you have your tool/parts kit and tow strap.
• Check any accessories and add-on equipment.
• Make sure your OHV is properly loaded and you are towing within equipment capabilities.
4. Personal Preparation
• Complete appropriate OHV training.
• Wear all necessary protective gear, helmet, eye protection, gloves, over the ankle boots. It only protects when used.
• Get specialized training – Map reading, compass, GPS, radio/communication.
• Become familiar with the trail exposure rating system used on the system you are on.
• Plan ahead to access food, lodging, fuel, and trail heads. Identify designated routes into towns and facilities.
• Be prepared for contingency situations with proper clothing and supplies.
• Practice using and understand your emergency equipment.
• Pack your cell phones, radios, GPS, etc.
• Carry sufficient drinking water (carry at least one gallon/person/day). Carry a purifier to allow purifying more water along the way.
• Leave a copy of your route plan with another person. If it changes notify that person of the changes.
• Make a contingency plan for the possibility that you might not return as scheduled.
• Stretch your muscles and warm-up to avoid unnecessary aches, pains, and stiff joints and sore muscles.
5. Post – trip tips
• Report any trail or other damage to the appropriate agency.
• Perform a post trip check of your OHV to identify any damage or concerns.
• Replace items used from emergency, survival, and maintenance kits.
• Thank the landowner or manager for the privilege of using their land. Recreating is a privilege not a right. A little respect goes a long way towards maintaining access.
6. Safety on the trail
• Never travel alone.
• Always supervise youngsters.
• Do not allow an untrained person to operate your OHV or equipment.
• Carry your emergency gear, to include survival kit and equipment.
• Carry extra fuel, if possible.
• Obey posted speed limits. Travel at an appropriate speed for conditions.
• Observe area rules.
• Use appropriate hand signals to provide an additional margin of safety. (Left Turn, Right Turn, Stop.) (Also, when traveling in a group indicate to riders coming in the opposite direction how many rides there are behind you by holding up the appropriate number of fingers ie 4, 3, 2, 1, 0. see image at bottom)
• If traveling after dark slow down.
• Always travel with your headlights on for visibility by others.
• Drive within your abilities. Don’t endanger yourself or others.• When traveling in a group, designate a leader and a “pick up” to maintain group control so no one gets lost.
• Observe group safety.
• Follow at an appropriate distance.
• Maintain contact with others in your group, visual or verbal (radio’s).
• Follow trail markers where applicable.
• Limit racing to closed courses.
• Track your progress on a map or GPS.
• Most of All, have an enjoyable time recreating on our public lands.
(Image Provided by Our Friends at Idaho Dunes RV)
(CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE)
Utah State Parks
Youth ATV Certification
Your safety is our number one concern. Utah law requires youth, ages eight to 15 (or until they get their state issued driver license), to complete a Utah Division of Parks and Recreation off-highway vehicle (OHV) education course before operating on public lands, roads or trails. It is illegal for any child under the age of eight to operate an OHV on any public land.
The online youth education course fee is $30 per student and must be passed only once. The OHV certification covers ATVs, off-highway motorcycles (OHMs) and side-by-side ATVs (type II ATVs or UTVs) . When the test has been passed, you will have the opportunity to print out a temporary operator license that will be valid immediately; you will then receive your permanent operator license in the mail.
Education classes teach:
- safe riding
- proper machine sizing
- weight distribution
- responsible and ethical riding
- proper handling and shifting
- riding within your ability
Online ATV/Motorcycle Certification Courses:
OHV Safety Checklist
1) Air pressure — Always have the recommended tire pressure. Be sure front tire(s) and both rear tires are inﬂated to equal pressures. If the tire pressure on one side is higher than the other side, the vehicle may pull to one side.
2) Condition — Check for cuts or gouges that could cause air leakage.
3) Wheels — To avoid loss of control or injury make sure axle nuts are tightened and secured by cotter pins. Check these before every run.
CONTROLS & CABLES
1) Controls — Check the location of all the controls by sitting on the OHV. Make sure they work properly.
2) Throttle and other cables — Make sure the throttle moves smoothly and snaps closed with the handlebars in any position. An off-road environment is hard on them. Do the controls operate smoothly and are the controls adjusted according to the owner’s manual? Are they positioned for easy reach? Your brakes are a crucial part of riding and must always be in tip-top condition.
3) Foot shifter — Is it ﬁrmly attached and positioned for safe operation?
LIGHTS & ELECTRICS
1) Ignition switch (if so equipped) — Check the condition of the switch and make sure it works properly by switching it off and on during your warm-up period.
2) Engine stop switch — Does it turn off the engine?
3) Headlight and taillight (if so equipped) — Are they working? You could be caught out after dark.
4) Brake light — Is it working?
OIL & FUEL
1) Don’t get stranded because you are out of oil or fuel. Know your OHV’s cruising range.
2) Check oil level with dipstick or sight glass while the engine is off. Check your owner’s manual for procedure.
3) Always start your ride with a full fuel tank.
4) Check for fuel or oil leaks.
5) Take off the ﬁlter cover and check the condition of the air ﬁlter element. Be sure it is clean and not torn or blocked.
CHAIN & DRIVE SHAFT CHASSIS
1) Chain — Inspect, adjust and lubricate the chain regularly. Your chain is the vital link from the engine to the wheels. Check for chain slack or free play so that it is within speciﬁcations as described in your owner’s manual.
2) Drive shaft — If your OHV is equipped with a drive shaft rather than a drive chain, check for oil leaks. Maintain its oil supply as outlined in your owner’s manual.
3) Nuts ’n’ Bolts — Rough terrain will loosen parts. Look and feel for loose parts while the engine is off. Shake handlebars, footrests, etc., before each ride and periodically check major fasteners with a wrench.
SPARK ARRESTOR & MUFFLER
1) Be certain your spark arrester/mufﬂer is properly attached.
2) Wiggle mufﬂer in your hands (only if machine has been off for two hours) to make sure it is ﬁrmly attached to the exhaust manifold.
3) Some states require that the spark arrester/mufﬂer be properly certiﬁed. All new ATVs come equipped with them. Check your owner’s manual for periodic maintenance requirements.
4) Never modify the spark arrester or mufﬂer yourself.
Utah Off-Highway Vehicle Program
Utah’s off-highway vehicle laws and rules promote safety and protection of people . property and te environment. this pamphlet answers frequently asked questions about OHV activities on public lands, roads and trails. It also provides important contact information. Click the link below to access this pamphlet.