April 19, 2009

Moab safari more civilized

 

Easter Weekend used to be anything but a holiday for residents of Moab, Utah. The annual Jeep Safari attracts 20,000 people and 2,000 registered slick-rock-conquering four-wheel-drives to the little outdoor recreation hub with a population of 5,000.

They play hard on trails that are hard on their rigs, sometimes staying up late at night in parking lots with lights powered by generators doing enough mechanic work to get them on the road again the next day.

They also party hard, but not as obnixiously as in the past.

Grand County Chief Deputy Sheriff Curt Brewer said the event has mellowed through the years. There’s still an occasional open-container arrest and a party to put down, but much of the lawless camping and late-night tree burnings across the desert are history.

Brewer credited both an elevated law enforcement presence — at least 40 officers at a time from various agencies — and the Red Rock 4- Wheelers club.

Members have educated registered participants about respecting the land and not tearing up new trails across delicate soils, he said.

Staff and wire reports

OFF-ROADING

ORVers under new license rules

Owners and riders of off-road vehicles in Idaho are sorting through Idaho’s new registration requirements that just took effect this week.

Since Jan. 1, ORVs have needed restricted license plates and off-highway vehicle stickers to ride on all but private land in the state. But a new bill that became effective immediately gives off-roaders the option of forgoing the plates in favor of the sticker.

Those who choose the sticker-only option won’t be able to ride on city and county roads open to trail vehicles. Info: parksandrecreation.idaho .gov/

Associated Press

STATE PARKS

Local woman on state parks panel

Lucinda “Cindy” Whaley of Spokane and Rodger Schmitt of Port Townsend will take their seats as new members on the Washington Parks and Recreation Commission Thursday.

On the agenda for their first meeting in Olympia: a financial crisis and proposals for state parks that may have to be transfered or mothballed because of budget cuts.

Schmitt is the former national recreation director for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Whaley is an attorney specializing in commercial litigation and employment law.

Rich Landers

BICYCLING

More than just a bike race

What: Spokane Tail Quest, a race series that’s essentially a scavenger hunt on mountain bikes.

When: April 26 at Orchard Prairie, May 31 at Liberty Lake, June 28 at Great Northern School.

Cost: $20 per event.

Details: Ken Bell (director) at (509) 327-7220 or (509) 280-5251; www.spokanetrailquest.com.

Rich Landers

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