OGDEN, Utah (AP) — Utah officials are exploring the possibility of allowing all-terrain vehicles to be used in Antelope Island State Park, a common entry point for visitors to the Great Salt Lake.
Utah Department of Natural Resources officials have asked the park's director to conduct an assessment of ATV use on its trails, The Standard-Examiner reported Wednesday.
Department Executive Director Mike Styler says he expects the results of that assessment by the spring.
"We're just trying to provide more opportunities for more people so they can have more experiences. We're getting pressure at all the parks to provide more opportunities," he said.
Styler's team rode through the park and found many trails weren't appropriate for ATV use, but others appeared be rocky enough to be ridden without causing erosion problems.
The Board of Utah State Parks and Recreation would need to approve the action and open a public comment period before the vehicles would be allowed in the park.
The use of ATVs would only be allowed through guided tours and limited to certain trails, Styler said.
Park advocates say they would oppose such an action because of the potential environmental harm the vehicles could cause.
"We think it would do irreparable harm to the island environment and the experience people have out there," said Spence Kinard of Friends of Antelope Island.
Meanwhile, local ATV enthusiast and columnist Lynn Blamires said he'd be in favor of a few special ATV-riding events, but he doesn't think the park should have an open ATV trail system.
Utah has 40 state parks, and about 10 of them offer ATV riding as an amenity. One, the Jordan River OHV Park, is dedicated to ATV riders.