In the spring of 2008, an article appeared in this column on the benefits of belonging to an ATV club. No club existed in Davis or Weber County at that time and yet a significant percentage of the 200,000 ATVs registered in Utah were found in these two counties. The response from the article was remarkable.
As a result, in April of that year, 40 people met and plans were made to form the Northern Utah ATV Trail Riders. Now the club has grown to over 160 members actively working with organizations who advocate multiple-use access to Utah’s spectacular back country.
A person new to riding ATVs immediately faces the dilemmas of where to ride and with whom. If you drive a side-by-side (UTV), not all Utah trails are open to your machine.
One function of the club is to help you know where to ride and how to keep the rules. Sometime back, I met some friends in Marysvale for a ride on the Pauite Trail. We talked to a couple of guys from out of state who had rented ATVs for a day ride. We offered to include them in our group but they declined, saying that they were just going to do some exploring. The date was early in July and I knew that the pass over the Tushar Mountains was closed due to snow. We took the junction below the gate and rode north. We later learned that these riders cut a trail around the gate and snow patches to get to the top where two Forest Rangers met them. They were fined $200 and had to repair the damage.
The collective knowledge the association has of ATV trails is impressive. I have ridden more new trails with the club than I ever would have found on my own. People bond with new friends who share a common love of the back country on the seat of an ATV.
As a member of the club, the association drew on my knowledge of trails and I was asked to lead some rides. Knowing a trail and leading a ride are two separate skills as I soon learned. It has to do with why seven riders got lost following me into the San Rafael Swell. The mirrors I bought for my machine to make sure the other riders were following me didn’t help much when the sun went down.
Club sponsored rides are well organized to create pleasant experiences for members. The chosen trail is pre-ridden by a committee so that those who lead the ride know the route and avoid surprises that might cause problems like getting lost. Maps to the trailhead as well as GPS tracks are provided with written directions. Members sign up for rides so leaders are prepared for the number of riders. Turns are marked so riders can hang back out of the dust and not worry about keeping up.
The social aspect of the group is a strong point. Breaks are taken along the trail allowing enjoyment of trail features and socializing. Last year the club held a variety of dinner socials out on the trail in addition to a summer picnic and a Christmas party in December.
Another club function is ATV safety training. The state offers training for youth and The National ATV Safety Training Institute offers training for adults. I have taken the adult class twice and picked up some good advice on skills. The practical part of the course only goes so far in teaching these skills. The real skills come with experience out on the trail. The club has some highly skilled riders who are happy to help riders feel comfortable with challenges such as riding deep ruts, side hills and off-camber situations, dealing with obstacles on the trail, handling rough terrain, hill climbs, and descents. These people will show you how to keep the rubber side down.
The club has a great ride and social calendar planned for this year. If you would like to learn more about The Northern Utah ATV Trail Riders, go to their web site at www.nuatv.com. The next club meeting information is on the home page.
You may contact Lynn Blamires at firstname.lastname@example.org.