As a resident of Moab, I know well the damage that OHVs are causing on public lands throughout southeastern Utah.

I’ve observed OHVs being driven off road, over fragile biological soil crusts and destroying vegetation. Every time I go out on public land, I see OHV tire tracks that have left scars on the landscape, sometimes lasting for years.

Further, OHVs have significant noise and air quality impacts. They are much louder than Jeeps and trucks, and generally produce more dust as they can travel faster.

Given this knowledge, and the fact that the National Park Service is required by law and policy to preserve park resources unimpaired for the benefit of future generations, I believe that the agency should not allow OHVs into national parks in Utah. Existing park roads and regulations allow plenty of public access without OHVs’ adverse impacts to park resources or noise.

Last spring, I spent 5 days experiencing the peace and solitude of the Canyonlands backcountry. I shudder every time I imagine how different my experience would have been if it had been marred by the roar of OHVs echoing through the desert. Protect the silence of our parks.

Allyson Mathis, Moab