Agencies Unite for Statewide Campaign Encouraging Recreationists to Keep Motorized Vehicles on Trails

Tread Lightly! logoSALT LAKE CITY, Utah (September 29, 2012) — RIDE ON Designated Routes is a new statewide campaign that has united land management agencies to educate outdoor recreationists who use motorized vehicles on Utah’s public lands.

The campaign, created by Tread Lightly!, unites the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Utah Division of State Parks and Recreation, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, and the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration together in an effort to spread a consistent message throughout the state. Tread Lightly! also brings funding and support from the private sector, such as Yamaha’s OHV Access Initiative and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, making this a public/private partnership promoting conservation and sustainable outdoor recreation.

"The collaboration among agencies regarding the implementation of this campaign will be unprecedented," said Juan Palma, BLM Utah State Director. "Whether you’re recreating at a State Park or on BLM land, in the north or south, there will be continuity across boundaries and consistency in messaging throughout the state."

The outreach effort is centered on the slogan RIDE ON Designated Routes, originally created for national application but now being customized with Utah-specific messaging. Since 1998, the number of off-highway vehicles (OHVs) registered in Utah has nearly tripled, putting additional pressure on Utah's public lands, especially in popular riding areas. RIDE ON reinforces that responsible recreation is the key to preserving and protecting Utah's many great motorized recreation opportunities.

"Utah State Parks is a strong advocate of education and this campaign promotes safe operation on designated routes for the OHV enthusiasts. It also allows OHV riders to receive the same consistent statewide messaging," said Jeff Rasmussen, Deputy Director, Utah State Parks and Recreation.

"The use of OHVs in hunting, fishing and other wildlife-related recreation is important to the people of Utah. The Division of Wildlife Resources is excited to be part of this outreach partnership to promote ethical and safe uses of OHVs," said Cindee Jensen, Assistant Director for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

The initiative will also expand to address issues like safety and resource damage– today’s most pressing recreation issues in Utah. Tread Lightly! has expanded the visuals to include both northern and southern Utah imagery. The first print public service announcements have been designed and will be placed in popular recreation areas throughout the state. In addition to print public service announcements, other strategies used to raise awareness and motivate responsible behaviors will include radio public service announcements, educational posters, Web technology, social media and educational brochures.

"People come from all over the world to hunt, fish, camp or simply recreate in Utah," said Dave Whittekiend, Forest Supervisor, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. "The majority of all recreationists are very responsible, but these messages are designed to help improve some of the behaviors of the few who don’t know how to tread lightly or don’t have a strong outdoor ethic yet."

"The Trust Lands Administration fully supports the RIDE ON Designated Routes message and is excited to be a part of this effort," said Kevin Carter, Director, Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration.

Notably, the public agencies and Tread Lightly! will evaluate the impact of the messaging and their outreach efforts on riding behaviors and on the condition of public lands over the next five years through comprehensive research. "Because of the wide variety of recreation it provides, Utah is the perfect location for project evaluation," said Lori McCullough, Tread Lightly!’s executive director. The organization will also implement and evaluate other Tread Lightly! educational messages, such as its comprehensive Respected Access is Open Access campaign. "Utah will become a site specific laboratory where we will research the efficacy of Tread Lightly!’s current and future messages," said McCullough.

The campaign is set to be launched on September 29, 2012 at the Jordan River OHV State Recreation Area in Salt Lake City. The event will include a short campaign overview, service project (planting trees and clearing debris along the Jordan River) and luncheon.

More information about the RIDE ON Designated Routes campaign can be found at www.treadlightly.org and www.respectedaccess.org.