The wildfire updates found in this section only address areas that directly affect ATV trails published by ATV Trails In Utah, which are trails in Northern Utah only.
Originally Posted 08/24/2020 @ 1:30 PM
East Fork: Started 08/20/2020: Cause: Lightning
Trails Affected: Arta Lake/East Granddaddy
Because this fire is in the Wilderness Area. it looks like they are going to let it burn for a while. We don’t know how this will affect the availability of this trail. We will monitor this and keep you posted.
|Coordinates||40.611 latitude, -110.714 longitude|
Fire crews are conducting burning operations on the SE portion of the fire. This work will create additional smoke from the fire. The burning operations are removing fuels along the fireline so as the main fire moves south it will run out of fuel to burn.
The East Fork Fire started on August 21, 2020, after a lightning storm passed through the area. The area has not experienced a large fire in about 50 years, numerous standing dead trees create hazards for wildland firefighters. Suppression efforts are focused on protecting critical infrastructure, private property, and other assets near the fire.
Closures are in effect for the Ashley National Forest and Uintah and Ouray Tribal lands. Click on the closure and map tabs for details.
Flying drones in or near the fire area creates a hazard to helicopters working on the fire. Whenever drones are spotted near the fire area our helicopters have to land. Please do not fly drones near the fire area.
Weather may help crews fighting East Fork, Center Creek Trail fires
More than 150 firefighters are working Tuesday to control two lightning-sparked wildfires burning near the Ashley National Forest in northeastern Utah.
Cooler temperatures and a rain/snow mix may help the efforts.
The East Fork fire started Aug. 24 about 13 miles northeast of Hanna, Utah.
Monday’s strong winds pushed flames southeast into Ute Tribal Lands near Moon Lake, fire officials said in a news release. The blaze has burned about 27,506 acres and is 15% contained.
Crews will try to establish a fire line along the southern and southeastern perimeter to keep the fire away from infrastructure.
Evacuations are in place for Swift Creek Drainage west to the Moon Lake area.
The Center Creek Trail Fire is burning 5 miles north of Moon Lake. It is 0% contained and has scorched more than 11,000 acres since it started Aug. 25.
— Linda Williams, KSL.com
East Fork Fire in Duchesne County mapped at 3,376 acres, 18% contained
The East Fork Fire, burning about 13 miles north of Hanna in the Rock Creek drainage of the Uinta Mountains, grew to 3,376 acres as of Monday, fire officials reported.
There were significant winds in the fire area Sunday due to the red flag warning, which continues Monday. The fire has grown 534 acres since Sunday.
A total of 72 firefighters, including two helicopters and four engines, are currently assigned to the blaze. One helicopter was set to fly a firefighter to place a camera on the edge of the wilderness area to monitor fire activity there.
A second, smaller fire, dubbed the Phinney Lake Fire, is about 176 acres and is burning north of the East Fork Fire.
— Jacob Klopfenstein, KSL.com
East Fork Fire 9% contained, no new fire growth reported in 3 days (KSL)
Fire officials reported the 2,752-acre East Fork Fire, which is burning in the High Uinta Wilderness about 13 miles north of Hanna, had reached 9% containment on Wednesday evening.
The fire, which began burning on Friday, has not experienced new fire growth in three days.
East Fork Fire in Duchesne County grows to 2,752 acres KSL
The East Fork Fire, burning in the High Uintas Wilderness in Duchesne County, has grown to 2,752 acres as of Monday, state and federal fire officials reported through Utah Fire Info.
The fire is believed to be lightning-caused and is 0% contained as of Monday, officials said.
The Rock Creek and upper Blind Stream areas, as well as the Yellowpine Campground, have been evacuated. Several other road closures are in place in the area. For more information on the closures, visit inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7052.
Inside the wilderness area, the fire is playing its natural role in the forest ecosystem and is being allowed to burn until rain or snow puts it out, officials said. Wildfires are necessary to maintain the health of the forest in that area.
Outside of the wilderness area, fire crews are constructing containment lines to prevent fire growth to the south. Five helicopters, five engines, and three ground crews, totaling 174 personnel, are currently assigned to the blaze.
8/24/20 East Fork Fire Morning Update Forest Service
East Fork Fire Wildfire
News – 5 hrs. ago
Contact Fire Information: 385.393.0516 or email@example.com
Light precipitation occurred over the East Fork Fire yesterday. Cloud cover kept temperatures slightly cooler than expected, and the fire only grew 196 acres. Inside the High Unitas Wilderness, the fire is playing its natural role in the ecosystem until significant rain or snow arrives to put it out. Fire is essential for overall forest health. It consumes excessive dead and down trees, inspires vegetative regrowth, and creates healthy wildlife habitat. A mosaic pattern, meaning the fire burns at different intensities over a landscape, is the most desirable as it creates diversity in the age, type, and concentration of vegetation.
Outside of the wilderness, firefighters are constructing fireline and taking actions to minimize fire growth to the south. Helicopters are dropping water on the fire area to support the firefighters working on the ground. Fire crews are also preparing nearby properties and infrastructure for potential threat from the fire. This work includes removing vegetation and installing sprinkler systems that can be turned on if needed.
Anyone planning to visit the area should check the latest updates to evacuations and closures before leaving cell service. Always let someone know where you are going and when you will return.
EVACUATIONS – Evacuations are in place for Rock Creek, upper Blind Stream, and Yellowpine Campground. The Duchesne County Sheriff’s Office is in charge of evacuations with assistance from firefighters and local Forest Service employees. Hunters, hikers, and others dispersed through the area are being located and advised of the current fire situation.
CLOSURES – The Ashley National Forest has an area closure in place for the safety of firefighters and the public. Beginning at the western edge of the Lake Fork Trail [Forest Service Trail (FST) 061] near Moon Lake at the intersection of the Lake Fork Trail and the boundary of the High Uintas Wilderness Area north along the western edge of the Lake Fork Trail to the intersection of the Highline Trail (FST 025), then northwest along the Highline Trail to the Ashley National Forest Boundary within the Wilderness, then west and south following the Forest boundary to the southern boundary of the High Uintas Wilderness Area, then east along the southern boundary of the High Uintas Wilderness Area to the beginning at the intersection of the Lake Fork Trail and the southern boundary of the High Uintas Wilderness Area. The Lake Fork Trail itself is not included in this closure. The Blind Stream Road [Forest Service Road (FSR) 135] is closed from the Forest boundary north of Hanna, Utah, to the intersection of the Blind Stream Road and the Rock Creek Road (FSR 134), then south along the Rock Creek Road to the intersection with FSR 198 at the Lower Stillwater Ponds Picnic Area.
OHV REGISTRATION & PERMITS
Any OHV being operated or transported on public lands, roads, or trails, of the State of Utah must display a current OHV registration st
ATVs, UTVs, or motorcycles brought into Utah that are not registered in compliance as street-legal under Uicker. All OHV registrations are handled by the Utah Division of Motor Vehicles.
tah law must obtain a non-resident permit to allow operation as an off-highway vehicle on public lands, roads, or trails. Non-resident permits are valid for one year from the date of purchase and can be purchased online or in person. Online purchases of the non-resident permit can be made on the Utah State Parks website. Permits are available in person at authorized vendor locations throughout the state of Utah.
Jordan River Off-Highway Vehicle State Park
2800 North Rose Park Lane
Salt Lake City Utah 84116
Six separate tracks, with tabletops and banked turns, are open from approximately early April to approximately mid-October. Off-Highway motorcycle (OHM) riders will enjoy five motocross (MX) tracks. ATV/UTV riders can enjoy the new ATV/UTV track that is open only to ATV/UTVs.
All riders must wear a helmet and all machines must be currently registered. Before riding here, or on any public land, youth from 8-16 years old (and until they get a driver license) must take and pass the state-required youth off-highway vehicle (OHV) education program; children under the age of eight may not operate an OHV on public land in Utah. Youth must carry their safety certificate while riding.
If you have a GPS it can be very helpful to download a GPS Tracks file to help you know which way to go. This is in addition to the maps we have already provided. We have provided a Garmin GPS Tracks file for this ATV trail that you can download from this website to your computer and then to your Garmin GPS. Instructions on how to do this are listed below. Please Note: (These instructions are for a Garmin Montana 610 series. You will be loading this file into Garmin BaseCamp. (If you have a different GPS please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will make every effort possible to provide you with a file format for your brand of GPS.)
How to Download this GPS Tracks File to Your Computer.
- You begin the file download by clicking the link above.
- A “Save As” dialog box will appear. You will be asked to save it somewhere on your computer.
- Save the File in a Folder where you can find it later.
How to Upload Your GPS Tracks File to BaseCamp.
(You will need to have the Garmin BaseCamp software loaded on your computer. If you don’t have BaseCamp loaded then you will need to download the software and install it on your computer. It is free software. Download by clicking this link: Garmin BaseCamp )
- Begin by opening the Garmin BaseCamp program on your computer.
- Make sure that “My Collection” is highlighted in the Library Section at the top left-hand side of the program. (See Example 1)
- Next, click the “File” tab.
- Then click Import into “My Collection.” (See Example 2)
- You will be asked to select a file. Scroll to the folder where you saved the GPS Tracks file and select it. Then select the open button. (See Example 3)
- The file will now appear in “My Collections” in BaseCamp. (See Example 4)
- Right-click on the file name and choose “Show on Map.” (Optional) (See Example 5)
Uploading the Trail File to the Garmin Montana 610.
- Plug your GPS into the computer using the USB cable and wait for it to boot up.
- Right-click on the Trail file name in BaseCamp you want to upload. (See Example 6)
- From the dialog box Choose “Send to.” (See Example 7)
- From the “Select Destination” dialog box, choose where on the GPS you want to send the file. (See Example 8)
- Highlight the location and select “Ok” at the bottom of the box. (See Example 9)
- The Trail Tracks that you just uploaded will be in the “Tracks Manager” on the GPS.
Creating a Garmin Adventure: (Optional)
You can create a Garmin Adventure of the ATV Trail in BaseCamp. This allows you to travel the trail in BaseCamp. It’s a fun feature. You do this by:
- Right Click on the file name and choose “Create Garmin Adventure.”
- Go through the steps providing the necessary information.
- Click the “Finish Button.”
To Play Back a Garmin Adventure Trail
In the left-hand column of BaseCamp is a box called “Garmin Adventures.”
- Right-click on the adventure you want to playback.
- A dialog box will appear. Click the “Playback” button. Your adventure will begin.
- Next to the “Pause” Button are some arrows. Click the arrows on the right to increase the speed of the playback.
- When finished, click the “x” in the top right of the playback dialog box to exit.
Getting your ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle) & SSV (Side-by-Side Vehicle) ready for the summer riding season is a must. The last thing you want to happen is to be out on the trail somewhere and have trouble with your machine. We have compiled a list of items you should address at least each spring to have your ATV and SSV in good working condition. (In this article use of the term SSV “Side-by-Side Vehicle,” will include SSV’s and UTV’s.) With all of the items listed below, we strongly suggest that you refer to your specific owner’s manual for further information and specifications that apply directly to your machine. If it’s more than you want to handle then your dealer will be happy to assist you.
Here is a Checklist to download that will assist you in preparing your machine for a fun ATV Season:
Start by looking around your machine. Look for signs of disrepair and repairs that need to be done. Are there any fluids leaking? Are there broken parts that you can see or are there any missing parts? Do a thorough walk around just like you would if you were renting a car. However, this is more important because this is your vehicle.
The first place you should start is with the fuel system. Gasoline can go bad if it has set for a long period of time and has not had a fuel stabilizer added to it. The gas can evaporate and the additives can separate. Bad gas leaves a varnish film in the fuel system and can plug small jets and orifices in carburetors. It can cause problems with the fuel-injection system. This will cause the engine to run poorly if it will even start at all. This is especially important if you live in an area where Ethanol might be part of the gasoline mix.
It’s easy to tell if you have bad gas. Remove the gas cap and smell it. It will smell old. If the gas is old and untreated, drain the fuel from the gas tank and carburetor (if you have one) and dispose of it properly. Clean the tank, carburetor, and/or fuel system as required. Dispose of the old gasoline properly. Put in fresh gasoline.
If you used a fuel stabilizer when you stored your machine, they should be in good shape. If it’s been a since you filled up and smells bad you are better off to drain it and clean the system. If that sounds like a lot to do, then we certainly recommend a trip to your dealer or favorite ATV Repair Shop.
In the future make sure you use a good quality fuel stabilizer before storing your machine for an extended period of time. We have had good luck with STA-BIL Fuel Stabilizer. This product is very popular and is readily available locally or you can purchase it online.
A battery that is old or not properly maintained during the winter is a huge problem or a huge problem waiting to happen. Ensuring that you have a good battery is very important. Putting a good battery tender on your battery in the fall when you store your ATV is a great idea. If you didn’t, we suggest you get one on right away. If you haven’t had the battery tender on all winter it will take a while to charge, providing that the battery is still good.
After it has been on for the specified time according to the charger’s information, check it with a Digital Multimeter according to the meter’s instructions. Any reading over 12.60 is 100% charged. You can pick up an 11 function one at Harbor Freight for around $25.00.
In some cases, the battery on the ATV is not in a convenient place to get to in order to charge it. The battery tender that we recommend is a Deltran Battery Tender Junior. They are available online. (Click the picture below.) It has a 24-inch cord adapter with a quick connect that you attach to the posts on your battery and run the quick connect to a convenient place to get to. You just plug the charger in and you are set. It also comes with some jumper cables that plug into the quick connect in case you need a jump or you need to give a jump. Deltran also has a plugin Voltage Meter that works great to check on your battery’s charge level.
Deltran has a number of other accessories. Deltran Accessories
You should always check at the first of the season to make sure that the cables are connected securely to the battery. It doesn’t hurt to check them again during the summer just to be sure. A loose connection can cause some other problems.
Always check the charge level of your battery before every ride. With the Deltran charging cable leads attached to your battery you can simply plug in the Voltage Meter to the end of the leads to see you charge level. Takes less than 30 seconds to check.
Check the Air Filter:
A clean air filter can make a huge difference in the performance of your ATV. Most air filters are easy to access but it’s a good idea to check your owner’s manual to locate the access point. This should be checked at the beginning of the season and if you are doing any significant amount of riding during the year it should be checked often. Even if your filter doesn’t look like it needs cleaning at the beginning of the season it should be serviced. Filter oils over time suffer the effects of gravity and can run to the bottom of the filter or can even dry out to some degree. Make sure that you start each season with a properly serviced air filter.
There are several types of air filters out there so clean your air filter according to the manufactures recommendations. If your filter is pretty beat up then replace it. You don’t want to have a very costly engine repair because of a faulty air filter.
While you are checking the air filter make sure that the inside of the air filter box is clean too. It is possible to get debris and dust in the box. Make sure you carefully clean this out and keep it clean on a regular basis.
Pre-Filters are a good idea if you are riding in the sand or on dusty trails. K & N filters are very popular and most have a Pre-Filter that you can purchase separately that fits over your air filter. These are great for extending the time between filter cleaning. However, you need to check them and clean them often. We have used the Pre-Filters on our ATV’s and they are awesome.
One last thing to remember. “If you have a relatively clean air filter, then it means that you are not riding enough.” Get out and get that air filter dirty.
The beginning of each new ATV season is a great time to change the oil, especially if you have not been keeping track of the mileage and hours it has been since your last oil and filter change. Always remember that oil can lose its useful qualities over time, whether you are using it a lot or not much at all. Again, you don’t want to start down the road to costly engine repairs.
We recommend that you use the oil that is recommended by your ATV manufacture or your dealer. Some recommend synthetic oil while others recommend traditional mineral-based oil. Always change the filter when you do an oil change. It’s only a few bucks more and it will save you tons of money in the future.
If you are riding a lot you may need an oil change during the season. We recommend that you follow your ATV manufacturer’s recommendations.
Changing the oil on an SSV may not be as easy as on an ATV. If it’s a task that is too big give your dealer a call and schedule an oil change.
It’s good to check your fluid levels at the beginning of the season. Coolant levels need to be topped off and the cooling system checked for leaks.
Brake fluid needs to checked and refilled. Brake systems need to be checked for leaks. When filling your brake fluid make sure you are putting in the correct brake fluid type for your machine. It’s not recommended that you mix DOT 3 and DOT 4 fluids.
Gear Box Oil:
The gearbox oil level should be checked at the beginning of each new season. It should also be replaced according to the manufacturer’s recommended intervals. Always use the proper type and weight of oil. The gearbox oil drain and fill plugs are usually easy to get to on an ATV. On an SSV it will require removing a seat and cover panel. Do not overlook this.
Brake Pads & Brake Shoes:
While we are talking “Brake Systems” make sure that you are checking the brake pads. It is always a good idea to be able to stop when you are out riding. If your pads are thin then get them replaced. If these pads get too thin you most likely will damage the rotor which is an additional cost to a brake service job. Check your ATV manufacturer specs for pad thickness.
Most ATV brake pads are easy to see to inspect. Some SSV’s will be a little more difficult to see. Some applications may require the wheel to be removed. Some SSV’s and UTV’s may have brake shoes and drums. This is a bit more work to inspect. You can clean the shoes and drums with a good brake cleaner. You need to make sure that you get all the dust and debris out.
If any of this seems too much, request your dealer to do an inspection for you. We just want to make sure you can stop.
The last thing you want is a throttle cable to stick wide open or a brake cable to not activate the braking system. At least once a year inspect these cables for damage such as kinks in the sheathing, separation of the sheathing, or rust and debris inside the sheathing. If you discover any of these conditions replace the cable. Otherwise, use a good, recommended cable lubricant. Not all lubricants will work. Use only a cable lubricant that is recommended by your ATV/SSV manufacturer.
ATV’s and SSV’s have a number of drive systems that make “the wheels on the bus go round, round, round.”
Chain and Sprocket: A chain and sprocket drive system are still common today. They are usually easy to get to in order to maintain, clean, adjust, and replace. Follow your manufacturer’s recommendations and specifications when dealing with a chain and sprocket system.
Drive Belt: (CVT) A good percentage of today’s ATV’s and most SSV’s are using the Drive Belt System. In most cases, the access point to these belts is easy to get to. In some SSV’s you will need to remove a seat and panel cover to expose the belt cover. The drive belt should be inspected annually for wear and cracks. If you find any significant wear or cracks replace the belt. If your owner’s manual doesn’t tell you how to replace it or you don’t have a manual, then you can Google it. You should be able to find a video on how to do it. In a lot of cases, there will be a special tool you will need to expand the drive clutch to get the belt off.
It is really important that you inspect the belt annually. These are a lot more fun to change in your garage than out on the trail somewhere. However, it is important that you are familiar with how to access the drive belt in the event that you do have to change one out on the trail. It’s also a good idea to have an extra belt with you.
Shaft Drive: A shaft drive system has become popular in the ATV and SSV machine. These components are low maintenance but do require some attention. With shaft drive systems you will have a differential. If your machine has a 4-wheel drive you will have two of them. The oil in these differentials need to be at the proper level and should be changed at the recommended intervals. Refer to your Owner’s Manual for the location of the differential drain and fill plugs. Use only the oil type and weight as recommended by your ATV Manufacturer or dealer. You will also have U-Joints on the drive shaft that will need to be greased.
Tires tend to lose air. Make sure that your tires have the proper amount of air in them. Usually, they run from 7 PSI to 9 PSI. Sometimes there will be a suggested PSI on the sidewall of the tire. This may not be the correct pressure for your machine. Consult your owner’s manual or a certified dealer for the proper air pressure for your particular ATV or SSV tires. An over-inflated tire can be very dangerous.
Inspect the overall condition of your tires. Things such as tread wear, cuts or gouges in the tread area and the sidewalls. Check for age cracking. You want to make sure that you have a reliable set of tires.
You should always have a fresh tire repair kit with you all the time. You should also know how to repair a tire if you encounter a problem. Of course, if you have to repair a tire while on out on the trail it’s a good idea to have a repair kit. Here is a link for a kit and a video on how to repair the tire.
Not only should you inspect your tires it is also a really good idea to inspect the wheels too. (My generation called them Rims.) When you are out on the trail your wheels can take a beating from rocks. Inspect them for dents and dings, especially around the bead. You can get a dent on the bead that can affect the tire holding pressure. Sometimes you can repair it. But usually, it’s a replacement.
If you have bead lock rings make sure that you inspect them. The bolts can come loose so it is always a good idea to re-torque to manufacturer’s specs.
And make sure the lug nuts are tight. It’s a weird feeling to see a tire pass you.
One of the most overlooked items in getting your ATV or SSV ready for the year is the location of the grease fittings. They are there for a reason. Certain parts need to be lubed. Your owner’s manual should help you locate them. Usually, they are found in the front suspension parts, U-Joints, and drive shafts. Make sure you locate them all and give them a shot of grease.
Suspension parts should be check at the beginning of the season and in reality, all season long. Shock absorbers should be check for function. Are they bouncy? Check for oil leaking from the shock. Check the shaft to make sure it isn’t bent or broken. If you have a coil spring on your shocks, check them to make sure they are not broken.
Tie rods and steering linkage should be checked to make sure they are not bent or broken. These are vital to the control of the machine. Any significant damage to these parts is a real safety hazard. Replace them.
CV joints and CV Boots are overlooked a lot. These should be checked after every ride, not just at the beginning of the season. If your CV Boot has a tear remove it and inspect the CV Joint for dirt, debris, and damage. Always replace a damaged CV Joint Boot as soon as you can. If the CV Joint is damage, have it replaced.
Registration, Tags, and Insurance:
Every year you are required by law to renew the registration and tags on your vehicle. If your machine is Street Legal you will be required to have an inspection too. Always check to know when your registration and tags are due for renewal. Also, check to see when your insurance is due for renewal. It doesn’t happen often but if you get caught without a current registration, tag and insurance you very well could get a citation, which can be very expensive.
Below are Utah’s regulations. You can Google your particular state for this information.
Check to make sure that your Headlights, Tail Lights, and Stop Lights are working. If any are out, replace them.
We recommend having a working fire extinguisher at all times on your vehicle. There are occasions that an ATV or SSV could catch fire. You always want you and your passengers to be safe. You also want to protect your very expensive investment and other property. It would be very sad if someone was injured in a fire or you lost your machine because you didn’t spend a few bucks to buy a fire extinguisher. You can pick up a 2.5 pound ABC fire extinguisher at the Home Improvement store for about $20.00. You can buy expensive racing extinguishers online. Play it safe. Make sure you have at least one fire extinguisher with you (more is better) that is easy and quick to get to. There are a variety of mounts online. You can find some by Googling “ATV Fire Extinguisher Mount” for more options. However, in my research on mounts, I decided on the Quick Release Extinguisher Mount. (See photo at right.) There are several brands to choose from on Amazon. The price range varies, but it appears that they are well constructed and look pretty much the same. I don’t think you can go wrong with whichever one you buy. Click the link below to see information on this mount.
As important as it is to have a Fire Extinguisher along, there are two other important things that go along with it. First, make sure at least once a year to make sure that the extinguisher is in working order. Check the gauge to ensure that the needle on the gauge is reading in the green. If the needle is not in the green then replace the extinguisher.
Second, make sure that you are trained to use the extinguisher. It doesn’t do you much good to have a fire extinguisher with you if you don’t use it correctly. We have included below a short video that will instruct you on how to properly use a fire extinguisher. Always remember P.A.S.S.
How to Use a Fire Extinguisher (Click)
Restraints & Harnesses:
Restraints and Harnesses in your SSV are there for a very good reason. To keep you safe. So make sure you use them. Check them each year to make sure they are in good condition and work as they are supposed to. If they are questionable replace them. We don’t want you tossed out of your vehicle in the event of a crash or rollover.
Some of us love to Accessorize our machines. If you have added any accessories make sure that they are installed correctly and in good repair. If you have additional lights make sure they are installed as per the manufacturer and in accordance with what your vehicle can handle. If you have a winch, it’s a good idea to make sure it works, just in case you need it sometime. Better yet make sure you know “how” to use it.
Get Reacquainted with Your Ride:
Probably the most important thing you do at the beginning of each ATV season is to “Get Reacquainted with Your Ride.” It doesn’t matter if you have only been riding for a short period of time or if you are an “I’ve been riding for so long, I can’t even remember when I started” rider. The last thing you should do is to take that first ride of the season at 100 mph with your hair on fire. Slow it down and get to know that ride again. You might even enjoy some of the scenery as it goes by.
While you are on this first ride you should check a few things. How do the brakes feel? Are they squishy? Do you feel confident that you can stop? Does the throttle work smoothly? Is it sticky? Does the steering pull to either side? Are there any rattles or bangs that shouldn’t be there? If you have any concerns get them checked out.
ATV & SSV riding is a lot of fun. It’s great to get out and enjoy your ride. We have tried to give you a good list of things to take care of each season so that your machine is in good working order. It might seem like a lot of time, but the time you spend will be worth it if it means not being broke down somewhere out in the “boonies.” Now that you have all these things done, it’s time to “Get Out for a Ride!”
The author of this article is not a certified technician. This material has been provided herein for educational purposes. You should always consult a mechanic or your vehicle’s service manual before performing any of the activities suggested in this article. The author and provider of this article disclaim all liability from any and all losses, damage, or injuries that may occur by performing any and all of the above-mentioned activities as described or shown.
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 the 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 of our natural environment. 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 manufacturers 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 is 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 fouled spark plugs, decreased engine wear, 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 Etiquette
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 Vehicles. 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 through 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 on 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 ”footprint” 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 driver’s 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.
• Lights 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 owner’s 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 trailheads. 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 the oil level with a dipstick or sight glass while the engine is off. Check your owner’s manual for the 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) Driveshaft — 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 the 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 the safety and protection of people. property and the 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.