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An off-highway vehicle education bill is one step closer to passing

A can-am four wheeler on a mountain trail
Timotheus Fröbel
A can-am four wheeler

The pandemic got a lot of people outside, and as Rep. Carl Albrecht pointed out in a Senate committee meeting on Monday, a lot of people came to Utah.

“As you'll remember, back when we were in the beginning stages of COVID, a lot of people went out and bought razors and four wheelers and trailer houses and made the venture to rural Utah to recreate and get out of the cities,” Albrecht said.

But Rep. Albrecht said not everyone rode responsibility.

“Riders from all over cut fences on private lands,” Albrecht said. “They didn't leave the gates as they found them. They got in farmers' stock watering ponds and used them for mud bogs.”

The result is a bill sponsored by Rep. Albrecht that would require all in and out-of-state riders to complete an online training course before operating an off-highway vehicle. If caught breaking any regulations, riders would have to complete community service at the site they were at. Off-highway vehicle advocates Utah president Brett Steward said while the training might be annoying for experienced riders, it will be worth it.

“It's sad that the responsible writers will be forced to take this online class. But if we don't, we'll lose our privilege to operate motorized vehicles on our own public lands,” Steward said.

While the bill might not be perfect yet, Kevin Mortensen from RideUtah said it’s enough.

“It's like anything else if it needs to be made perfect, that can happen in the future, but this is good.” Mortensen said. “Takes a big step towards reaching out towards environmentalists, land use agencies, and kudos to Utah really, for the way it's managing recreation.”

The bill is on the Senate second reading calendar.

Emma Feuz is a senior at Utah State University majoring in broadcast journalism with minors in sociology and political science. She grew up in Evanston, Wyoming where, just like Utah State, the sagebrush also grows. Emma found her love of writing at an early age and slowly discovered her interest in all things audio and visual throughout her years in school. She is excited to put those passions to use at UPR. When school isn't taking up her time, Emma loves longboarding, cheering on the Denver Broncos, and cleaning the sink at Angies.