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Feds to open Utah’s national parks to ATVs; advocates fear damage, noise they may bring
The roar of ATVs could be coming to a Utah national park backcountry road near you under a major policy shift initiated by the National Park Service without public input.
Across the country, off-road vehicles like ATVs and UTVs are generally barred from national parks. For Utah’s famed parks, however, that all changes starting Nov. 1, when these vehicles may be allowed on both main access roads and back roads like Canyonlands National Park’s White Rim and Arches’ entry points from Salt Valley and Willow Springs.
The move was ordered Tuesday by the the National Park Service’s acting regional director, Palmer “Chip” Jenkins, who directed a memo to Utah park superintendents instructing them to align their regulations with Utah law, which allows off-road vehicles to travel state and county roads as long as they are equipped with standard safety equipment and are registered and insured.
“This alignment with state law isn’t carte blanche to take their ATVs off road,” said agency spokeswoman Vanessa Lacayo. “If people [drive] off road, they will be cited. Protection of these resources is paramount.”
Under the rule change, off-highway vehicles could roam Canyonlands’ Maze District and Arches’ Klondike Buffs — as long as they remain on designated routes. In general, ATVs would be allowed to travel roads that are open to trucks and cars.
The directive, which applies only to Utah parks, triggered an immediate backlash from conservation groups, which predicted the move will result in a “management nightmare” for parks already struggling with traffic jams and parking clutter.
Now the park service is inviting a whole new category of vehicle onto park roads, establishing new uses that will disrupt wildlife and other visitors’ enjoyment, warned Kristen Brengel, the National Parks Conservation Association’s vice president of government affairs.
“These are national parks that have incredible resources, cultural resources, natural resources, and so by allowing these vehicles that are tailored to go anywhere, you’re potentially putting these resources at risk,” Brengel said. “The park service should be going through a public process, doing an analysis and making sure they can adequately protect the park and its resources and visitors. They haven’t done that.”
Brengel said her group is conferring with its attorneys to consider its options to block the rule change.
Setting the stage for this change in policy was SB181 enacted by Utah lawmakers in 2008, authorizing any “street-legal” vehicle on all state and county roads. For the past 11 years, the National Park Service has pushed back, closing park roads to these recreational vehicles under the rationale that it is too easy to drive them illegally off the roads.
“The addition of off-road vehicle traffic on park roads will inevitably result in injury and damage to park resources. These specialized vehicles are designed, produced and marketed for the purpose of off-road travel, and they are uniquely capable of easily leaving the road and traveling cross country,” states a 2008 park service memo explaining why Arches and Canyonlands should remain off-limits to ATVs. “No reasonable level of law enforcement presence would be sufficient to prevent ATV and OHV use off roads. Park rangers will have no ability to pursue and apprehend vehicle users off road without adding to the damage they cause to park resources.”
When Utah enacted SB181, all-terrain vehicles, which ride like a four-wheeled motorcycle, were the most used off-road vehicle. UTVs, or so-called utility terrain vehicles, equipped with side-by-side bucket seats, steering wheels, robust suspension and roll cages, have since eclipsed ATVs in popularity, as well as their ability to create impacts. They can be operated at higher speeds and can be so loud that occupants wear ear protection.
Jenkins, who served most recently as the superintendent of Mount Rainier National Park, issued the directive after off-highway groups and Utah lawmakers led by Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding, pressured the Interior Department to lift the prohibition.
In a Sept. 2 letter to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, Lyman wrote that he is "offended" that the park service discriminates against off-highway vehicle owners, noting than nearly all of Utah's national parks are accessed from state and county roads.
“The owners of street-legal OHVs comply with numerous laws and regulations to be given the privilege to drive on a wide range of state and county roads,” he wrote in the letter, signed by 13 other Utah lawmakers. “They also contribute to the maintenance of the state highway system through gasoline taxes and registration fees.”
Lyman is the former San Juan County commissioner who became a political celebrity after organizing an off-road vehicle protest ride though Recapture Canyon, which resulted in misdemeanor convictions, 10 days in jail and a reputation as a public lands warrior.
Adding pressure were UTV Utah and Utah OHV Advocates. According to the groups, Utah is home to 202,000 registered OHVs, or off-highway vehicles, the broad category that includes UTVs and ATVs.
“Despite being one of the largest groups of public land users, and even though the economic benefit of our community dwarfs most other recreational users combined, we often find ourselves discriminated against by decision-makers that head public land agencies,” the groups’ presidents, Bud Bruening and Brett Stewart, wrote in a joint July 29 letter to Bernhardt. “In Utah, this discrimination is particularly acute when it comes to the National Park Service.”
Many southern Utah county commissioners had lobbied for this change in the hopes of widening riders’ options for roaming Utah’s public lands. Counties maintain many of these back roads, according to Newell Harward, a Wayne County commissioner who welcomed the rule change.
“We are happy with it,” said Harward, whose county includes Capitol Reef National Park and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. “It will increase some tourism issues with folks who want to use some of these roads with street-legal UTVs. I don’t know the difference between those and small Jeeps [which had always been allowed]. I’m hoping people will pay attention to the laws and stay on roads. If they don’t, then this is going to get backed up.”
Glen Canyon had already loosed its rules a few years ago, when it developed a new travel plan allowing ATVs on roads around Circle Cliffs. But that was only after a public process, an environmental review and a final decision that has yet to be formally implemented, according to Neal Clark, staff attorney with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.
“UTVs are built for one reason, which is off-road use. That is the purpose for the existence of these machines,” Clark said. “They’re loud and obnoxious and because of that they’re completely contrary to the reasons that people travel from across the globe and across the country to visit national parks.”
Article Source: https://www.sltrib.com/news/environment/2019/09/28/feds-open-utahs-national/
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I have a 2001 suzuki quadmaster 500 4x4 automatic and i was wondering witch atvs it shares parts with i know it shares some with artic cat. Any info would be helpful.
By Josh Cummins
Bought this quad a couple days ago. Got it home and couldn't get it started. Got my new starter and recoil on. Starts up great. Took it for a quick spin hot light came on. Guess my question is there a way to test the sensor? If sensor is good what would be next step? Any other common checks I should do before throwing new parts at it?
By Frank Angerano
I’ve decided to post a thread on the process of cleaning a carburetor and what’s needed in order to do it properly. There are some members that are new to this and are not very versed in doing so. I want to help and feel this might explain things better. I would hope this helps you along. We all have our own little tricks of the trade so I’m sharing my process on how i break a carburetor down, clean, reassemble and adjust it to peak performance. I welcome any other members input on this topic. List of things I use: Safety glasses !!! Rags. I like to use old white Tee shirts or I buy and always have a few white pillow cases from the dollar store on hand. The cheap ones. I like to use a frisbee turned upside down like a bowl to keep the liquids to a minimum on spillage to the work bench. A set of cleaning picks and brushes or a piece of bicycle break cable, I separate the strands and use them to clean out the tiny holes in the jets. (Pic attached) A can of gum out carburetor cleaner with the small red tube that attaches to the spray tip. (Pic attached) A can of compressed air, the kind used to clean out keyboards on computers. It also has the small red tube that attaches to the spray tip. Or a compressor if you have one with a blow out tip. (Pic attached) A piece of clean hose that I can connect to the fuel line port on the carburetor to test the float operation. About 10 inches long. A few Q tips. The process: I like to put the pillow case down on the work bench and spread it out flat. This really helps in being able to keep track of parts. Especially because it’s white. I use the frisbee because it’s small enough to keep parts contained and durable enough to deal with the chemicals and any gas that will come out of the carburetor while opening it up. It’s important to make sure you keep track of where everything came off and where the screws and parts all go back. I like to start at the bottom and pull the bowl off. I immediately spray the inside of the bowl down with carb cleaner until its about half way full and set it aside. Then I take the float out and check it for any fluid inside. If it’s a white color float you can hold a flashlight under it and see through it for any fluid inside. If it black just shake it up and listen for fluid inside. No fluid inside is a good thing ! When the float comes out the fill valve needle will come with it. I take that needle and put it in the carburetor bowl that I filled with carburetor cleaner. This way it soaks for a bit. I do the same thing with the jets also once they are unscrewed and out toss them into the bowl to soak. Take the air/fuel mixture screw out and soak that as well. Side note: the air/fuel screw should have a screw, spring, washer and o ring. After all the jets and parts are out and soaking I like to take the carburetor cleaner, use the small red tube and stick it in all the little holes/ports on the carburetor and spray. I do this while it’s in the frisbee. This way there is no mess. I look to see where the spray pressure comes out on the other side of that port. Once this is all done I start running my brushes and cleaning tips gently through all of the holes/ports and spraying it again with the carb cleaner. After I feel I’ve seen a clear flow of fluid through all the openings I spray them with the can of air the exact way I did with the carburetor cleaner. This will blow out any left over junk that’s still in the carburetor. Check the choke operation is working properly and spray it clean. Most choke devices are easily cleaned up so hit it and move on since they are mechanical and it’s just a matter of freeing them up, spraying with cleaner and lube. There are multiple types of chokes but many of them for the most part are mechanically operated. Once this is completed I wipe the entire carburetor down good and blow it clean and set aside. I then start working on the jets one by one. Start by running the cleaning tips and brushes through all the tiny holes making sure they are all clean. Hit it with the carburetor cleaner and then air. I hold a flashlight to it when it’s done so I can make sure all of the holes are clear. I set all the jets aside on the work area. Do the same thing for the float needle and air/fuel screw. Now once this is all complete you can set the frisbee aside and start to reassemble the carburetor on the clean white surface. I start by running a Q tip in where the fill needle sits into the carburetor. Some carbs have a small o ring that needs to be clean for proper seating of the fill needle. Carefully reinstall the jets where they came from and do not strip or over tighten the jets and use the proper size screwdrivers when removing and reinstalling the jets. Reinstall the air/fuel mixture screw and set it to what’s called out in the manual for that bike. Install the float and fill needle assembly. Now in order to test that float I like to take that piece of hose I mentioned and connect it to where the fuel line gets connected to the carburetor. I then turn the carburetor over to the upright position and blow into the hose. You should hear air coming out of the bottom of the carburetor. While blowing, lift the float up and the air should stop. Let it go and the float should fall down opening the fill valve and you should hear air again. The air should stop about 3/4 way up when raising that float while your blowing air into it. If so then your good to go. If not make an adjustment Set the carburetor down, take the bowl and empty it. Clean it out and scrape/wipe any old junk inside and blow it out good. There is a screw on the outside of the bottom of the bowl. Remove it and clean it out and reinstall. Turn the carburetor over and reinstall the bowl. Tighten the screws in a crisscross pattern so the bowl seats evenly. I like to put the hose on one more time and do a float test to make sure it’s opening and closing properly. All you have to do is blow into the hose and run the carburetor upside down to see if the air stops. Reinstall the carb and you should be good to go! All pics of the items I use are attached below. If you understand this great. If not ask away! Don’t be shy and don’t cut corners. You will only wind up pulling the carburetor off of the bike for the third and forth time before you get it right. The last thing to be discussed is dialing in the air/fuel screw when your finally put back together and running. This is a relatively easy task. Again I hope this helps! Frank.
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By Guest yokochrist
Charlotte, NC - July 12, 2011
Press Release - X-Tream Clean Products announces its sponsorship with Sunshine State Quad Series
X-Tream Clean Products announces its sponsorship today with Sunshine State Quad Series of Leesburg, FL. Established in 2006 SSQSA was formed for the ATV racers of Florida to begin a dedicated ATV series during the typical winter months. Beginning this November SSQSA is coming back and ready to set the ATV world on fire. The SSQSA will be hosting a four race series that will begin in November 2011 and end in January 2012. They will have a total of 19 classes for riders of all ages and experience levels from the youngest 50cc riders to the Pro and Pro-Am classes. X-Tream Clean Products looks forward to our relationship with SSQSA and all of the participants that will be attending races this upcoming season.
Sunshine State Quad Series of Leesburg, FL is run by Brett Jones who has been involved in promoting ATV racing for over 15 years. More information can be found at Home Page.
X-Tream Clean Products based in Charlotte, NC develops and markets cleaning products specifically designed for motocross bikes, street bikes, ATVs, UTVs, bicycles and all related off-road, on-road and on-water machines as well as developing tire preps for dirt and asphalt racing applications. More information can be found at Welcome to XTream Clean.
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