The Sevier County Sheriff’s Office has fielded several complaints in the past week concerning people trespassing. 

With approximately 70 percent of Sevier County’s land mass taken up by public lands, there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. 

Some of the access points to public lands are surrounded by private holdings. In the past, many landowners have been very reasonable in allowing access via trails and roads. 

However, a recurring theme of complaints lately is people are leaving the trails and willfully trespassing. In some cases people have destroyed or run over fences and signs. This type of behavior is causing many property owners to reevaluate their willingness to let people cross their land. 

Staying on trails is important no matter where a person is riding. Whether it’s on private or public land, people should avoid ever leaving the trail unless it is in a designated area where that type of riding is allowed. 

Another issue that is arising is people who refuse to follow the travel plans, and use trails that are not meant for them. Some have used ATVs on the new bike trail west of Richfield, causing damage to something that was largely built by volunteers. 

Others have no problem dropping their trash wherever and leaving it. There are also riders who insist on speeding, kicking up the maximum amount of dust and being as loud as possible — disrupting other’s enjoyment of the region’s outdoor spaces. 

All of these instances are the result of a few bad actors, but they reflect on the entire ATV/OHV community. ATV and OHV clubs have worked very hard through the years promoting responsible riding, litter cleanup and other service projects. They understand that everything done on public land falls under a microscope where even the slightest offense can and will be used by activist groups to try and restrict any type of ATV usage on public lands.

Those few irresponsible riders who trespass, vandalize and litter are showing contempt for others.

What it comes down to is a matter of respect — respect of property owners, respect of other’s use of trails, respect of fellow ATV users and respect of the law.

When people show respect, it prevents a lot of problems, and in these cases a little respect could preserve access to recreation opportunities for everyone. 

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