Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Courtesy photo) Frank White at the ATK motorcycle factory in Centerville.
Wharton: A motor enthusiast who likes the Feds
First Published Mar 26 2013 01:01 pm • Last Updated Mar 28 2013 11:27 am

Bountiful » When the issue of Bureau of Land Management motorized recreation is discussed, many off-road enthusiasts view the federal agency in a negative light.

Think, for example, of dozens of angry ATV owners riding up State Street the past few legislative sessions demanding to "Take Back Utah" and criticizing mostly mythical or greatly exaggerated road closures or restrictions.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

That’s why it was refreshing to chat with Frank White, an avid off-road motorcycle racer, owner of ATK Motorcycles in Centerville and a member of the Utah BLM Resource Advisory Council. He actually thinks the agency and its state director, Juan Palma, are doing a good job trying to bring various users together to decide the best way to manage thousands of acres of public land.

"They are trying their best," said White, emphasizing that he is speaking for himself and not as an official representative of the council. "They get beat up way more than they deserve. They have to be good stewards of the land, but they have all these things coming at them. There are 70 lawsuits coming at them just in the state of Utah."

White thinks there are too many groups that include both wilderness-promoting environmentalists and federal-hating off-highway vehicle organizations more interested in perpetuating themselves than actually solving problems.

That said, White does not like the idea of the president being able to designate a large swath of land as a national monument such as Bill Clinton did when he created the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. And he favors strong local input when decisions on how to manage public lands are being made.

How does he feel about the Utah Legislature’s quest to transfer federal lands into state hands?

White thinks it’s a matter of which agency can do a better job managing a particular area. With regards to OHV management, he said there are some places where perhaps it would make more sense to make a land trade to expand a state park for riding where in other areas the feds might do a better job.

He said some areas should be designated wilderness, though he doesn’t understand why horses and not mountain bikes can be used in those areas. And he said he not only enjoys racing his off-road motorcycle but turning the engine off and going to a place where motors are not allowed.

One thing that bugs the motorcycle manufacturer is that off-road vehicle groups often don’t get credit for trying to protect the environment and for promoting responsible riding practices.


story continues below
story continues below

He cites a 2012 effort where the Castle Country Off-Highway Vehicle Association, Southeastern Utah Off-Highway Vehicle Group, Sage Riders, San Rafael Back Country Horsemen, Scout groups, schools and dedicated hunters joined forces to maintain motorized trails, sign designated routes, improve trailheads, build kiosks and blocked off illegal user-created rails for reclamation. According to the BLM Price Field Office, which provided the above information, the groups donated 2,203 hours valued at $46,000.

In places where riders go off-trail and damage both the land and the reputation of all riders, White thinks "friends groups" of riders who use peer pressure to get all riders to stay on designated trails can be effective.

"To me, it’s all about planning," said White.

In my case, I’ve always thought that moving federal lands to state management is too risky from a recreation standpoint. I can’t understand how OHV and hunting organizations who support such an idea don’t see that the state will certainly privatize and thus close to public use much of what is now open public land.

The idea of having user groups, environmentalists, hunters, anglers, ranchers and oil and gas interests sit down together with agency leaders in an effort to come up with plans to manage lands so the needs of all can be met holds great appeal.

wharton@sltrib.com

Twitter @tribtomwharton



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.