Rattlesnake & Constrictor adoption & trail abuse

Greg

Starting Over
Admin
This discussion has been a long time coming and I feel bad that the management of these trails has gotten (IMO) so out of hand with new routes all along the trails and simply too many vehicles driving anywhere their owners please.

As many of you know, Rattlesnake & Constrictor are trails that many of our early members established, named and put on the map. They were 4x4 trails that existed before, but they weren't well known. These trails are on public land, managed by the BLM. I don't know how many of you current active members recall how heavily debated these trails were 15+ years ago but there were MANY angry discussions about how these routes needed to be managed... needless to say, we decided that the members of RME needed to adopt these trails, make changes where necessary, patrol them watching for abuse and pick up any trash along the way.

We approached the BLM many years ago about officially adopting these trails, but were told by BLM officials in SLC that there was 'no formal procedure' for adopting a 4x4 trail on public land. :rolleyes: When we looked at maps of where these trails lay, it also became obvious that parts of both trails do cross private land held by mining companies. In order to keep these trails open and not bring too much attention to them and the fact that parts cross private land, we've been flying under the radar with our unofficial adoption of these trails. In the past, a couple of guys have approached these mining companies for legal permission to be on their land and were told without any hesitation, 'NO' .... they did not have permission to use their property. That makes for a very sticky situation with the trails running over the same property.

I know that plenty of RME members are still out running these trails, but in the last handful of years these trails have been seeing much more traffic than they ever have and many people think that they can drive anywhere they like, creating obstacles that are without a doubt 'off trail' and not a part of the original, intended route. In recent discussion with the BLM land managers, we've talked about closing parts of the trails that have become braided (multiple unnecessary routes) and they seem to think that we want to block off a route... not a redundant trail. They also don't seem to understand how much off-trail damage is being done by people driving anywhere they want to. These trails are simply being overrun and the BLM doesn't seem to understand that we're trying to help keep people on the intended route. I have seen many discussions in a local group by certain people that honestly think there is NO problem driving anywhere they want to... apparently just because they CAN.

I have spent quite a bit of time on the phone with the SLC BLM office and it's extremely frustrating... dealing with a government employee, sitting behind a desk and spending little (if any) time out in the field. Trying to make any headway on managing these trails and making sure they stay open for the future has been nearly impossible for me. So we do what we can, without much input from them. :ugh:

So at this point, I need help... I think we all need to take a hard look at these trails, see what we need to do to manage them and ensure they stick around for the future. I'm open to suggestions, would seriously love to hear input from you guys on what we need to do. I feel like this is a much bigger problem than I can manage... and it's going to take a massive group effort to make things better.

Thoughts, ideas, suggestions?
 

Hickey

The Dark One
Supporting Member
I agree that it's a huge problem. Some of the damage is intentional, but most of it is probably just ignorance. The trails are hardly recognizable from 12 years ago. It's bad enough that I question at times if I am actually on the same trail.
 

RockChucker

Well-Known Member
Location
Highland
Sounds like there needs to be fences/signage put up to block the bypass routes. It will probably cut down a lot of traffic on constrictor anyway.
 

Greg

Starting Over
Admin
Sounds like there needs to be fences/signage put up to block the bypass routes. It will probably cut down a lot of traffic on constrictor anyway.

I agree, fences and signs would be great... but I'd be curious how much blow back we'd get from the BLM by doing it without approval under an "official" adoption, it's damn near impossible to make any changes to BLM managed land out there without a EIS (Environmental Impact Study). Fencing & signage would have to be done just right, not too much and blend in with the area. Even then, I've been less than impressed with the Utah BLM and they're willingness to work with the 4x4 groups. Here in Colorado we have some amazing clubs, doing great things and working well with the CO BLM. I don't see that in Utah, especially when dealing with the SLC BLM office.

I have heard that there is a bounty on the left side of Eagles Nest (not sure who put the so-called bounty up), encouraging people to tear up even more off-trail area. In addition to that, apparently the original line up Waynes World isn't a challenge enough, now people are driving up any side of the hill they please! :mad2:
 

Greg

Starting Over
Admin
These are signs & fences on Billings Canyon trail in Grand Junction, adopted by the Grand Mesa Jeep Club. Very impressive signage & minimal disturbance with the fencing.


i-bGrgWg7-L.jpg


i-JQXbxPs-L.jpg
 

OrangeSkidPlate

Active Member
I can talk to some recreation people today in the office and see about donating some T post and tools, they are willing to help the ranchers "graze" (destroy) the landscapes but no willing to help some guys drive on some rocks. Seems strange.
 

Bart

Registered User
Location
Arm Utah
The last few times I run the trails there were lots of SxS's out there and most of them don't seem to care about staying on the trails or anyone but themselves. This is the same mentality that I've witnessed in Moab and they just seem to run right past signs and blockades. I'm not sure what it will take to educate this group of relatively new off-roaders and bring them up to speed on the precarious fine line we face keeping these trails open. This is just an observation but I'm happy to help with whatever is decided here.
 

Jinx

when in doubt, upgrade!
Location
So Jordan, Utah
The last few times I run the trails there were lots of SxS's out there and most of them don't seem to care about staying on the trails or anyone but themselves. This is the same mentality that I've witnessed in Moab and they just seem to run right past signs and blockades. I'm not sure what it will take to educate this group of relatively new off-roaders and bring them up to speed on the precarious fine line we face keeping these trails open. This is just an observation but I'm happy to help with whatever is decided here.

x2
 

Herzog

somewhat damaged
Admin
Location
Kamas, UT
The last few times I run the trails there were lots of SxS's out there and most of them don't seem to care about staying on the trails or anyone but themselves. This is the same mentality that I've witnessed in Moab and they just seem to run right past signs and blockades. I'm not sure what it will take to educate this group of relatively new off-roaders and bring them up to speed on the precarious fine line we face keeping these trails open. This is just an observation but I'm happy to help with whatever is decided here.

I've seen half and half. Groups of trail concious users and groups of just "eff it all up".

I think it comes from the ease of entry into the sport/hobby of sxs's... There's no real community built up around trail use and camaraderie and it seems to have an element of ego issues tied to it. Hopefully that changes over time because we could use the numbers to help keep things open!
 

RogueJeepr

Here!
Location
Utah
If only we could get a ranger out there to do a bit of enforcement from time to time, maybe during trail runs like the jeep club here does.

Sent from my H1611 using Tapatalk
 

cruiseroutfit

Cruizah!
Moderator
Premium Vendor
Location
Sandy, Ut
Really glad to see this become a talking point among RME members and while I feel like 99.9% of RME'ers are not the problem, I hope that we can help propagate the message to the various other clubs, Facebook groups, events, etc. At one time we had a fairly active relationship with the BLM in this area and they were in fact party to the original run of Constrictor (we were pulling out the stolen/abandoned Rodeo). They were seemingly interested in seeing a properly managed trail system develop in the area and had already done route survey's (albeit dated then and SUPER dated now). That all got put on hold with RMP planning politics, lawsuits and federal budget woes. With the current political climate in that realm, now is a better time than ever for groups to work together to see if we can get something more solid for the future of 5MP. As it stands now any trails newer than say 1999 (which was the last inventory?) would be tossed right off the map if they used that data, fortunately I think their own rules prohibit that and would force a new EIS/FLMPA/RMP, etc process.
 

chaotick5

the big deal
Location
Hooper
Its been bout 5 years since Ive wheeled 5 mile , loved to wheel and camp out there . I was totally knocked over a week ago to find a landfill (permitted by utah deq ) next to my old camping area . No fencing for blowing litter . I think there is 2 landfills in Fairfield 1 mile away ?
 

xjtony

Well-Known Member
Location
Grantsville, Ut
Sidewinder in just the last year had gone from a trail, to just a big open rock pile at the top. Its amazing how much damage has been done
 

Seth

These go to 11
Seems like there are two areas of focus. First, we need to understand how to successfully engage with the BLM. Second, we need to have a user campaign that interests and involves the users of the area. Neither is easy, especially when done by part-time, unpaid individuals. Ideally, you get traction on both fronts. But even if all you do is the awareness side some difference came be made.

To the first point, I would be interested to see what MFFW and UPLA have done differently in their relationships with the land managers. Both groups have been very effective as of late.

Secondly, If the sxs's are truly the lion share of the issue then the solution needs to involve that community. Where rock crawlers can take many forms and are half home baked, that market is exploding and has a much more identifiable path to the user. There are a handful of retailers and an equal amount of custom shops if I had to guess.

The same way people rallied to protect Johnson Valley, one could if so inclined, build a coalition to protect the snakes. That being said, if you want it done right and sustainably you have to have funding. I think you can get those dollars with a well thought out plan. And marketing, lots of marketing.

I'm thinking stickers, badges, hats, t's sold at the select retailers. You kill two birds, you get awareness and you can fundraise at the same time. Neither of which require an unpaid individuals time.

A public shaming message, done with kitch is always effective. Something to the effect of "Mind your snake - keep to the trail", "Protect your snake - Stay on the trail", "don't beat your snake - save 5MP". I would say toss a curse word in there to get attention but I don't think you could retail those. "Beat your snake and you'll fu*kin lose it - save 5mp"

I'm old enough and experienced enough to know that volunteer efforts while noble are not sustainable. Whatever is done has to be scalable in order to make it last.
 

xjtony

Well-Known Member
Location
Grantsville, Ut
There have been several heated "debates" on FB over the last week regarding trail abuse, in particular, sidewinder. I really believe that if things keep going the way they are, this trail could jeopardize the whole trail system. It has been turned from a trail into a gravel pit in some areas. I'd like to try and take an active role in attempting to provide some protection. As has been mentioned signs, barrier markings, etc. I'll be happy to put in some time and energy, but would need some guidance/help to maybe see what we think needs to happen.
 
Top