Agencies Unite For Statewide Campaign Encouraging Recreationists to Keep Motorized Vehicles on Trails

RO psaRIDE ON Designated Routes is a new statewide campaign that has united land management agencies to educate outdoor recreationists who use motorized vehicles on Utah’s public lands.

The campaign, created by Tread Lightly, unites the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Utah Division of State Parks, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, and the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration together in an effort to spread a consistent message throughout the state. Tread Lightly! also brings funding and support from the private sector, such as Yamaha’s OHV Access Initiative and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, making this a public/private partnership promoting conservation and sustainable outdoor recreation.

The outreach effort is centered on the slogan RIDE ON Designated Routes, originally created for national application but now being customized with Utah-specific images.  Since 1998, the number of off-highway vehicles (OHVs) registered in Utah has nearly tripled, putting additional pressure on Utah’s public lands, especially in popular riding areas. RIDE ON reinforces that responsible recreation is the key to preserving and protecting Utah’s many great motorized recreation opportunities. The initiative will also expand to address issues like safety and resource damage– today’s most pressing recreation issues in Utah.

“The collaboration among agencies regarding the implementation of this campaign will be unprecedented,” says Juan Palma, BLM Utah State Director. “Whether you’re recreating at a State Park or on BLM land, in the north or south, there will be continuity across boundaries and consistency in messaging throughout the state.”

“Utah State Parks is a strong advocate of education and this campaign promotes safe operation on designated routes for the OHV enthusiasts. It also allows OHV riders to receive the same consistent statewide messaging,” Mary Tullius, Director, Utah State Parks and Recreation.

The first print public service announcements are being designed and will be placed in popular recreation areas throughout the state. In addition to print public service announcements, other materials and mechanisms used to raise awareness and motivate responsible behaviors will include radio public service announcements, trailhead kiosks, billboards, posters, web technology, social media and educational brochures.

“People come from all over the world to hunt, fish, camp or simply recreate in Utah,” says Rob MacWhorter, Forest Supervisor, Dixie National Forest. “The majority of all recreationists are very responsible, but these messages are designed to help improve some of the behaviors of the few who don’t know how to tread lightly or don’t have a strong outdoor ethic yet.”

“The Trust Lands Administration fully supports the Ride On Designated Routes message and is excited to be a part of this effort,” says Kevin Carter, Director, Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration.

Notably, the public agencies and Tread Lightly! plan to evaluate the impact of the messaging and their outreach efforts over the next few years through comprehensive research. “Because of the wide variety of recreation it provides, Utah is the perfect location for project evaluation,” said Lori McCullough, Tread Lightly!’s executive director.  The organization will also implement and evaluate other Tread Lightly! educational messages, such as its comprehensive Respected Access is Open Access campaign. “Utah will become a site specific laboratory where we will research the efficacy of Tread Lightly!’s current and future messages,” says McCullough.

More information about the RIDE ON Designated Routes campaign can be found at www.treadlightly.org.