Dear Editor,

I applaud our City and County officials for hitting the pause button on Special Event Permits for UTV events. I’m looking forward to participating in the upcoming process to find solutions to address the noise and other impacts caused by UTV events. I realize that UTV events are not the only culprit in the bigger noise issue, but special event permits are something that the city and county can address locally, without getting the UT legislature involved, and I fully support our local officials taking this step.

I was under the impression that while residents and officials worked on a path forward for UTV events and other related UTV and noise issues that we’d have a short respite from noisy UTV events that negatively impact the majority of our community. However, I have learned that Rally on the Rocks (ROTR) has a 10-year permit from the BLM to hold its event on trails in Grand County, and the organizer is not interested in moving the event to a different county for the upcoming year.

Of course, BLM has the option to suspend or rescind the permit if the organizer doesn’t comply with local laws. So to that end, Grand County Commission sent a letter to the local BLM office notifying the agency of the County’s temporary moratorium on UTV events and requested that the agency NOT permit ROTR to use trails in Grand County during the moratorium. The letter noted that the county received more citizen comments opposing the ROTR event than for any other special event ever.

It’s hard to believe, but BLM has NOT suspended or modified the ROTR permit, and the organizer is moving forward with the event - knowing he cannot get a county or city permit for the spring ROTR. If BLM doesn’t suspend or modify the ROTR permit to exclude all trails in Grand County during the county’s temporary moratorium, then BLM is violating its own rules of requiring event permittees to comply with all local laws.

And if the organizer thumbs his nose at the County and City’s temporary moratoriums on UTV events and willfully goes forward with the event without the required city and county permits, then ROTR should be permanently banned from Grand County and Moab. There are plenty of other events that do not cause the harmful impacts that ROTR causes to our community - events that the community would welcome.

Chloe Hedden

Moab