Off-road trails topic of council meeting

Uinta County Herald publisher Mark Tesoro talks about an off-road trail system he and several others hope to connect communities in southwest Wyoming. (HERALD PHOTO/Kayne Pyatt)

EVANSTON — Mark Tesoro and Rick Schuler, organizers for Southwest Wyoming Outdoor Trails (SWOT) asked the Evanston City Council for a letter of support for the group as they continue to develop an off-road trail system. Their presentation was the main subject for the city council’s work session agenda on Tuesday, March 10.

“When it’s 110 to 115 degrees in Moab, it would be an ideal time to attract off-road enthusiasts to Uinta County if we had a trail system here. They could come to Evanston and unload and ride to Ft. Bridger, the Piedmont Kilns and the forest. There are already existing trails that could be linked to county roads. Our mission is to connect communities to each other, connect to the forest and connect to historical sites, which would provide an economic benefit to Wyoming,” Tesoro said.

Tesoro, who is the publisher of the Uinta County Herald, explained that he and several people had first mentioned the project at a Uinta County Economic Development Commission (UCEDC) meeting several months ago and since that time had been holding meetings. The group has met with Rick Schuler from the Forest Service, WYDOT representatives, the BLM, Wyoming Outdoor Recreation, UCEDC chair Brent Hatch, Evanston Community Development Director Rocco O’Neill, Gary Welling from county planning office, landowner Vance Broadbent and other interested parties. The group realizes there might be issues with the BLM, the railroad and private landowners, which will need to be worked out.

SWOT would like to see Evanston become a destination community for the OHV riders. The council received a copy of Dubois’ city ordinance for allowing ATVs to operate on city streets in order to leave their vehicles and trailers in town and ride their ATVs to the access roads. By becoming a destination community, Evanston would see an increase in retail sales, restaurant, and hotel revenue, Tesoro said.

Tesoro showed a map of existing trails and how they could be accessed by county roads and linked together. He said they are working with the Uinta County commissioners, adding that Sen. Dan Dockstader of Lincoln County would like to see the trails linked up to Lincoln County including Kemmerer, Star Valley and Afton.

Tesoro said Mark Black at Cycle City told him that since 2009, 4.5 million ATVs and 4.1 million side-by-sides have been sold in the U.S. Tesoro gave the council a copy of a page from a national magazine showing 10 Utah ATV gatherings, plus 25 other ATV events throughout the U.S. from March to November. 

“I personally don’t own an ATV,” Tesoro said, “but am really excited about the opportunity for the local and state economy in creating this trail system. We are just in the beginning stages of organizing and making contacts.”

The council was very supportive, and Mayor Kent Williams asked what they should put in the letter. Tesoro said they just need to know the city council is on board and supports the efforts to create the trail system. Tesoro said that later in the process they will need help with marking and mapping the trail, along with approving city ordinances.

The final item on the work session agenda was Treasurer Trudy Lym reminding all department heads to begin to look at their budgets in order to give her information ahead of April. She gave them a sample worksheet with estimates in order to start the process before the budget hearings begin.

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