A city ordinance just banned OHV events in Moab

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For decades, Moab, Utah, has been a top destination for OHV events, but not anymore.

Moab, Utah, is possibly one of the most well-known 4×4 destinations in the world. Moab trails are known as some of the most challenging and scenic backroads you will find in western America. You might think the small town of  Moab is overwhelmingly friendly towards 4×4 enthusiasts, but I suppose you might be wrong.

When I was a child, my father and I visited Moab. Back then, Lions Back was still open. The entire town was full of old Jeeps, square body chevy trucks, Scouts, Motorcycles, and ATCs. Everywhere we went, the parking lots were full of offroad machines.

Being a kid growing up in the offroad industry, I was amazed at the culture of Moab. It was a town where nearly everyone had common ground, a passion for 4×4 adventure. Back then, traveling Moabs backroads earned you bragging rights around the campfire.

Although the entire community is built on the backs of 4×4 users, our access is being threatened by county and town officials. City officials have passed new town ordinances that are gaining the attention of pro-motorized access user groups across the US, especially after popular events like Rally On The Rocks are now being canceled as these new rules are implemented.

The Utah legislature has passed legislation allowing OHV users to operate their machines on highways. OHV users, like all drivers, are required to carry a valid driver’s license, insurance, tags, mirrors, horns, etc., very similar to Arizona. However, the city of Moab decided it’s ok to subvert the Utah legislature and pass these ordinances anyway.

According to Blue Ribbon Coalition,

In short these actions ban OHV events, ban new OHV-related businesses, and create separate traffic laws for street-legal OHV users.

ShareTrails.org needs our help. Please sign the petition!

Motorized access groups in Utah are banding together to demand local authorities remove the prohibitions, and some are reaching out to us. ShareTrails.org or better known as The Blue Ribbon Coalition, is collecting signatures for a petition. They are challenging these new rules and asking the Moab city officials to reconsider the prohibitions.

Working together with our neighbors, we can help defend motorized access for all user groups. These unconstitutional ordinances should be challenged by all people who have enjoyed Moabs trails.

We are asking everyone to take 2 minutes out of their day to support this effort. If you have “autofill” set up on your device, it literally takes 2 seconds.

Please click here to sign the petition!

Read the city ordinances below.



2-4-2021 UPDATE


Good Evening,

I wanted to send out an email update to you, about our May rally on the Rocks Event in Utah.

We are so very excited to share that our event will be happening May 12-15th, 2021! The entire Rally will be held in San Juan County, just 1.5 miles south of the arena to San Juan County. Location will be at 11856 US- 191, UT. With the amazing help of Dixie 4WD and Moab Off Road Compound we are able to move forward.

All trail rides this year will be held on the trails located in San Juan County and will meet at the trail heads. We are working on GPS coords for each trail head and will post them in the coming weeks. ROTR is not organizing any trail rides in Grand County as part of the Rally this year; keep in mind that all the trails in and around the Moab area are open for public use.

Any questions please visit our website https://rallyontherocks.com or reach out to me.

Thank you
Katie Bell

2-2-2021 Update: Word has it that The Easter Jeep Safari has been canceled. We are waiting on the details. We will update you guys when the news comes in. As of now, the organizers of Red Rock 4-Wheelers, inc. EJS are asking everyone to keep their hopes up. They are working on a positive outcome for this year’s event and exhausting every avenue before officially calling it off.

Local industry leaders are asking the offroad community to come and visit Moab anyway. They want us to come out there and run trails regardless if the event is going or not. DO NOT CANCEL YOUR PLANS OR BOYCOTT MOAB. It’s the local business owners, industry leaders, those they employ, and the overall community that needs our support.

1-28-2021 Update: Since there is much confusion over this article, we would like to clarify. There is a difference between an OHV and a motorized vehicle. We have also replaced the word “4×4” with the acronym “OHV” in the title to better distinguish the point of this article. 

As far as the law is concerned, there are separate laws that govern OHV use. These laws pertain to OHVs only. Off-Highway Vehicles are legally defined differently than a registered motor vehicle.  

These new ordinances will only affect UTVs and other machines that fall under Utah’s legal definition of OHV.


So far, Rally On The Rocks is the ONLY event that has been canceled. Other events like Easter Jeep Safari are still good to go as of now!


0 thoughts on “A city ordinance just banned OHV events in Moab

  • The article on Moab ordnance. Sound to me like after 35+ years of 4×4 in Moab the yuppies are finally taking over. My freinds and I grew up runnung those trails before the ” bicycle riders” started trying to keep us off trails we made.
    But everyone worked together to save a failing community when the mines closed. Sound like that growth is not in Maobs future.

    • No matter where you’re at in the western US, there are efforts to harm the industry somehow. It’s a shame, but if we all stick together, there is no way we will lose any more. Hopefully, the city and county will reconsider these changes if enough people put pressure on them.

      There are many people who represent the residents of Utah. City, county, and state. CALL THEM ALL!

  • This article is super vague! Even after your clarifying statement it’s still confusing. Many believe this will kill EJS and other Jeep/Truck based events. Does this only effect side x sides?

    • I’m not sure how much more we can clarify. There are links to the ordinances themselves and both groups who are fighting these proposals. It’s not my fault people don’t understand the difference between an OHV and a motor vehicle or read the ordinances.

    • Ok. A little patience with folks will help.
      If your are trying to get support from strangers who don’t know the issues. A welcoming positive response will get you more results.
      The docs that I downloaded talked about ATVs not OHVs and might be confusing to someone not from your area. I assume that they include UTVs in the OHV group.
      Here in NY ATV and UTV can be licensed and insured but only used on designated roadways. 4×4 and motorcycles are and can be registered as regular motor vehicles
      But can be excluded from areas. It’s confusing here as well as where you are.

    • I totally understand the frustration and the confusion, but I need to make a few things clear. This is not directed towards just you, but also anyone who reads this article.

      First, I never intended to define what or who this applies to. I simply gave commentary and directed everyone to Blue Ribbon Coalition to learn more.

      Second, I didn’t realize that Blue Ribbon Coalition didn’t provide any sources of information, so I had to do that myself. It created an initial confusion during the beginning, and I have since tried to clarify.

      And third, I’m not familiar with Utah’s OHV laws, so I will refrain from providing misleading information. I can’t make statements I have no knowledge of. If this were Arizona, that would be different.

      I think the confusion is from the broad nature of the ordinances themselves. On top of that, the Utah OHV laws are different than most states. Your right, Utah uses the term “ATV” while other states use the term “UTV.” There are several types of offroad machines that fall under different classes of ATVs.

      Utah’s “ATV” laws govern UTV, ATV, ATC, Dirtbikes, custom rock buggies, and several other machines. I have no idea how those laws work, who they apply to, or the requirements or limitations.

      As of now, as mentioned in the article, ONLY RALLY ON THE ROCKS, a UTV event, has had their permit pulled by the city. This HAS NOT affected other events. Other UTV events are still good to go.

      HOWEVER, we should not ignore and turn a blind eye to this. Just because these new ordinances currently only apply to a single UTV event and UTV machines, does not mean we are in the clear. These ordinances technically could allow the city of Moab to ban nearly ANY offroad events and business as they please.

      Everyone needs to follow the sources I provided. Folks jumped to conclusions and never followed the links.

      Thanks for your input, bud. Sorry if I came off as an asshole. That wasn’t my intention whatsoever. I Should have used an emoji LOL 😀

    • It is unfortunate to see the hype generated in this article without the facts to support it or local perspectives. I’ve lived in Moab for 27 years. The street legal Side by side UTV invasion of the last few years has been the most devastating change to the quality of life here of any of the crazy changes we’ve seen.
      The Noise! The trail damage!
      Rally on the rocks has, in a few short years, become the most despised event of all the special group events we host. They are now trying to say this moratorium is a threat to all offroad groups. To be clear, I am a motorhead myself, driving a diesel ram truck and an old Defender around town and on local trails. These rule changes don’t apply to jeeps or even dirt bikes and other established vehicles.
      The real problem is a recent Utah state law that makes side by side UTVs street legal and prevents smaller towns from banning them on their city streets. Something about preserving “rural” character. Notice they are NOT legal in Salt Lake City, and probably not where you live either.
      I believe this issue is about local control, plain and simple. We should be able to vote on whether to allow them on our neighborhood streets, but because state law prevents this, our elected officials have to nibble around the edges, enacting a new speed limit of 15mph for UTVs and trying to apply better noise ordinances, as well as this temporary moratorium to get some breathing room to get a handle on the situation. Our local officials are trying to do this in a way that protects established local outfitters and rental companies.
      A friend and local Jeep tour guide refers to side by sides as “Trail Lice”. The offroad community is definitely split on this issue. Rally on the Rocks and the Blue Ribbon Coalition are trying to portray this legal action as a threat to all offroaders’ access to local trails. This is purely a disinformation campaign.
      Please remember that Moab’s desert environment is fragile, rules of trail etiquette are essential and the quality of life of the people who live here is actually important. Think again before you sign this petition and consider supporting the efforts for local control. Thanks!

    • The way I see it is the county and city need to follow the Utah state law. To ignore the law and do what they want is unconstitutional. The Utah state legislature made the law on behalf of their constituents. That is local control. Everyone is willing to work with the county and city to help reduce noise and solve any issues. But these officials are overstepping their constitutional power, and Blue Ribbon has every right to challenge it.

      As far as the stance on the UTV community, that is extremely counterproductive. That attitude is fracturing our community. There are disrespectful, destructive users in every group. SxS users are a part of the offroad community, just like you and me.

      Denouncing them is not the answer when they are the majority in the offroad community. They have everything to do with the public perception of our community, policy-making decisions, and economic impact on places like Moab.

      Instead of having this attitude, we need to focus on education. We all were noobs at one time, and we all get a little rowdy now and then. I ask you to please reconsider your thoughts on SxS users; they’re not all bad people.

    • Thanks for the thoughtful response and dialogue. The county and city officials are taking action on behalf of local residents, whose complaints and comments have been submitted in record numbers denouncing the presence of UTV’s on City/County streets. As a resident of Moab, I fully support these efforts, as they are finally listening to the building frustration of longtime locals who live with the noise 24/7 during the busy months, which are now most of the year. In the past year, the number of UTV rentals has exploded, and numbers of tourists riding through town and on local trails has also exploded.
      Attempts at education have been tried over the years and it hasn’t worked- this user group needs to take some responsibility for their behaviors in town and on trails if they want the privilege to ride here. Our trails are becoming trashed. Blue Ribbon should be focusing efforts on educating its users if they want to maintain access, not lawsuits against our elected officials.
      If you want to discuss government overreach, let’s talk about the State Legislature making the law that doesn’t allow a town of our size to discriminate against street legal vehicles, in order to “preserve rural character.” First of all, these are recreational vehicles. If locals are using them for agricultural work, fine. Salt Lake doesn’t allow UTV’s in their residential neighborhoods, neither do most municipalities in other states. The State government has hamstrung our ability for local control, and if our county and city residents were allowed to vote on the issue, they would vote to get UTV’s off our streets. Please don’t attack our City and County officials- they are merely doing their job and serving the desperate complaints of residents. Jeeps and Dirt bikes are not threatened, and the city has expressed creating exceptions for electric UTV’s since they would be quiet.
      If side by side users feel victimized, they can start by respectfully trailering their vehicles to trailheads, and staying within trail boundaries while riding. Stop the high-banking, the riding around obstacles and crushing shrubs and trees, the “fresh tracks” through our fragile landscape. Slow down, stay on the trail, and stay out of neighborhoods. Now is the time for Side by side users to start self policing and encouraging better behaviors before they lose privileges.

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