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In Moab, UTVs are dominating the landscape and making residents’ lives miserable. Here’s what that looks like.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Several off-road utility terrain vehicles (UTVs) motor up Sand Flats Road toward the Sand Flats Recreation Area trail, located near downtown Moab, Feb. 19, 2021.

Moab has experienced an explosion of growth in tourism, particularly with utility terrain vehicles (UTVs). But the increase in off-road entertainment has led to near-constant suffering by residents when it comes to the noise they produce.

Like many lawn mowers, the exposed engines on UTVs can make them louder than a car or truck, even during normal operation. After-market mufflers, designed to rev the machines even louder, can add to the cacophony.

The noise from UTV traffic in residential neighborhoods across Moab has hampered the quality of life. Residents have characterized the noise as a citywide crisis, one that Moab and Grand County are eager to resolve. [Read here for a deeper look at the noise issue.]

Here’s what a day in February looked like as UTVs crisscrossed the town and surrounding redrock.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Several off-road utility terrain vehicles (UTVs) motor up Sand Flats Road toward the Sand Flats Recreation Area trail, located just a few miles from downtown Moab, Feb. 19, 2021.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Moab native Anthony Charles, holding his son, Winter, 9 months, struggles with the noise of off-road utility terrain vehicles (UTVs) since he and his wife moved into their new home on Mill Creek Drive in May 2020. Charles and Winter stand at the intersection of Mill Creek Drive and Sand Flats Road, which leads to the Sand Flats Recreation Area from Moab, Feb. 19, 2021. Charles has said he has counted over 70 UTVs at that intersection when several groups converged one day at the three-way stop.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) After stopping at Moab's Milt's Stop & Eat restaurant for lunch, two men in an off-road utility terrain vehicle (UTV) motor back up Mill Creek Drive toward the Sand Flats Recreation Area, Feb. 19, 2021.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Moab Mayor Emily Niehaus found an ally in Sen. Mike McKell, R-Spanish Fork, regarding UTV noise in Moab. Niehaus holds a photograph of her guiding Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Layton, Sen. Jacob Anderegg, R-Lehi, his wife and two children and Sen. McKell and his wife, Brandi, down the Colorado River last fall. Niehaus has the picture on display at her city office, Feb. 19, 2021. McKell sponsored a bill that would have allowed Moab and other resort communities to adopt nighttime restrictions on off-highway vehicle traffic on city streets.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Moab residents are thankful for off-highway enthusiasts who drive their machines to Sand Flat Recreation Area trailheads on trailers, like this group at the trailhead to the Fins & Things 4x4 Trail area, Feb. 20, 2021.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) In January, Moab waged an educational campaign urging residents and out of towners driving off-road utility terrain vehicles (UTVs) to "Throttle Down in Town" and imposed lower speed limits for side by sides, Feb. 19, 2021.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) An off-road utility terrain vehicle (UTV) motors down 300 South toward downtown Moab, Feb. 19, 2021.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Several off-road utility terrain vehicles (UTVs) motor down Main Street in Moab toward the Sand Flats Recreation Area trail, located a few miles from downtown, Feb. 19, 2021.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Several off-road utility terrain vehicles (UTVs) motor the Hell's Revenge 4x4 Trail at the Sand Flats Recreation Area trail, located near downtown Moab, Feb. 19, 2021.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) An off-road utility terrain vehicle (UTV) eases up Hell's Revenge 4x4 Trail at the Sand Flats Recreation Area trail, located near downtown Moab, Feb. 19, 2021.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Kent Green, right, an area off-road guide who runs the tour company Moab Cowboy Country Offroad Adventures, prepares to ride the Sand Flats Recreation Area trail Hell's Revenge with wife Cricket and daughter Amasie Willison for trail restoration and repairs, Feb. 20, 2021.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Friends of Joe Riley, owner of Epic 4x4 Adventures in Moab, prepare to take a ride in Riley's Mega Buggy to work on the Sand Flats Recreation Area trail Hell's Revenge for trail resortation and repairs, Feb. 20, 2021.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Moab residents Cricket Green, left, and daughter Amasie Willison, center, with Moab Cowboy Country Offroad Adventures, listen as Andrea Brand, the director of the Sand Flats Recreation Area, right, talks with other volunteers providing trail restoration and repairs on the Hell's Revenge Trail, Feb. 20, 2021.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) An off-road utility terrain vehicle (UTV) eases up Fins & Things 4x4 Trail at a Sand Flats Recreation Area trail, located near downtown Moab, Feb. 19, 2021.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Thrill-seekers driving off-road utility terrain vehicles (UTVs) rented from Moab Tour Company head out of the parking lot on Main Street to head toward the Sand Flats Recreation Area trail, located just outside of town, Feb. 19, 2021.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) An off-road utility terrain vehicle (UTV) eases up Hell's Revenge 4x4 Trail at a Sand Flats Recreation Area trail, located near downtown Moab, Feb. 19, 2021.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Several off-road utility terrain vehicles (UTVs) motor toward the Fins & Things 4x4 Trail at a Sand Flats Recreation Area trail, located near downtown Moab, Feb. 19, 2021.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) An off-road utility terrain vehicle (UTV) motors down 100 South in downtown Moab, Feb. 19, 2021.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Moab, a town of 5,400 residents, swells by the thousands week to week from May to November as tourists visit Arches National Park and outdoor enthusiasts arrive to hike, bike, camp, ride UTVs and run the Colorado River, Feb. 19, 2021.




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