Recent complaints from residents on Tooele’s mountain benches have prompted city officials to issue a warning that off-road-vehicle users who violate the law will be prosecuted.
“We plan an enforcement sweep with city police officers and officers from the State Division of Wildlife Resources,” Tooele’s Assistant City Attorney Wayne Jones said.
“We are receiving a lot of complaints from people who live in the southeast section of the city. Private homeowners are complaining of noise and vandalism from ATV users. We are encouraging private landowners to contact us if these problems persist. Under Utah Code, offroad- vehicle use is prohibited upon private property unless the operator has permission from the property owner or caretaker,” Jones said.
He said several complaints are coming from the Elk Ridge subdivision area and Cassity Drive. With wet spring conditions, ATV use is creating a lot of scarring on hillsides. Tooele City owns large sections of land on the east bench and leaders are concerned that ATVs will scar the land and wreak havoc with the watershed.
The assistant city attorney said that the problem is becoming more prevalent as residential areas sprout up along the outskirts of the city.
“Tooele City has experienced vigorous population growth over the past 10 years. Over the same period of time, the popularity of motorized all-terrain vehicles has steadily increased,” Jones said.
This includes off-road motorcycles, personal four-wheeled ATVs, four-wheel-drive trucks, jeeps and SUVs. Use of these vehicles is increasingly heavy in the open areas along Tooele’s City’s eastern boundary, in the washes and on the southeast benches and foothills.
Jones said most operators are respectful and act responsibly, but a few cause problems.
“Spinning ATV tires cut deep ruts and tracks in loose or muddy ground, stripping away vegetation and soil in the process.
This damage is especially serious on the steep slopes south of Skyline Drive where some reckless operators have been mounting increasingly higher and steeper peaks and ridges,” Jones said.