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Debbie Hadley

Should ORV's Be Banned to Save a Beetle?

By January 19, 2009

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For a decade or so now, a war's been raging in southern Utah. Once again, the Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle has made the list of candidates for federal listing as an endangered species. Should the beetle make the cut to the list of protected species, it could mean a ban on off-road vehicles in the dunes this rare insect calls home.

The Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle, found only in a small area in southern Utah, is a candidate for federal endangered species protection.
The Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle, found only in a small area in southern Utah, is a candidate for federal endangered species protection.
Photo: US Bureau of Land Management

The Coral Sand Dunes tiger beetle, Cicindela albissima, lives in only one place - Coral Sand Dunes State Park in Kane County, Utah. The entire population of this predacious beetle - which could be as few as 800 total - lives on about 400 hectares of the park's sand dunes. The beetle habitat stands right smack in the way of the weekend recreation crowd, who flock to the park with their ORV's in tow.

Biologists argue that a single catastrophic event could wipe the Coral Sand Dunes tiger beetle off the map in one fell swoop. Environmentalists hope the feds will, at long last, grant the beetles protection. ORV riders claim that they'll be the only party negatively affected by any conservation efforts on the bug's behalf.

We've known for a long time that this beetle is rare, and it's demise could be closer than we think. It's time to put wildlife first, and get serious about protecting the Coral Sand Dunes tiger beetle.

POLL: Should ORV's be banned to protect rare insects?


January 20, 2009 at 12:58 am
(1) S_Khalsa says:

I agree Debbie, they have already kicked those vehicles off the road, why let them tear up nature. I don’t like them either, most riders seem to be very inconsiderate of anything but their own thrill factor.

January 20, 2009 at 1:25 pm
(2) blake says:

F’n treehuggers. why do you insist on forcing your way of life on other people.

BTW what do you drive, i bet you drive a suburban or some other guzzler, unless you walk to work, STFU!!!!

January 20, 2009 at 8:54 pm
(3) Cody says:

Why would you stereo-type all offroaders saying we don’t care about the environment? Most of the offroad community will go out of there way to keep trails and OHV areas open and maintained. Closing areas like this isn’t going to help the situation, There are these areas to ride in so people don’t ruin other places, People would rather ride in a OHV area then ruin land. There are many off-road organizations trying to put money into keeping environment nice yet open, Why not put money towards that instead of closing the places. Cant anyone have any fun anymore? There is much more research that needs to be done on this subject before you make a untrue statement about the off road community.

January 21, 2009 at 11:09 am
(4) Sally Bug Brain says:

“There are these areas to ride in so people don’t ruin other places”

That’s isn’t much of an argument for the ORV riders, you know. They would just go ruin other places if this spot weren’t available? What a thoughtful hobby you have!

January 21, 2009 at 1:14 pm
(5) Cody says:

Thats not what was intended. There will always be people that don’t follow the rules, In any hobby, sport, Etc. If you close areas that are better to ride in, and IMO not harmful to anything, These small percent of people will have even more reason to go elsewhere. You cant stop OHV activity completely, It wont happen. I know the majority of the offroad enthusiasts stay on marked trails and areas, and care a great deal about the land they ride on. Its not just about the thrill factor as you think, Its also about being able to explore and experience the environment. I’m sure everyone likes to see things they couldn’t normally get to without a ORV. I just don’t see much harm in staying in designated areas and trails. Yes, There will be some people that wont follow the rules, But that’s everywhere, Look at your local highway…Walk into your local store, I’m sure not everyone is doing the ”right” thing. It doesn’t always have to be a few people ruin something for thousands. Put money into organizations trying to keep offroad recreation safe, and keep people riding where they should instead of the organizations trying to close everything. The right precautions can be made to make both sides happy if people like you just try to work with it instead of jumping to conclusions that simply aren’t right.

Also, I haven’t once said anything against ”Environmentalists” or whatever you want to consider yourself. But, I see that it doesn’t go both ways. You keep the offroad community down, With facts that aren’t right.

And thanks for making one of the past statements seem like I was saying something else. I will give you credit somewhere.., You are good at changing people words around, and making it seem like I am such a awful person for my hobby.

January 21, 2009 at 4:16 pm
(6) Mike says:

Well said Cody.

January 21, 2009 at 5:25 pm
(7) OHVfamily says:

You have no idea what you’re talking about! Please refrain from having your uninformed opinions display your ignorance.

Most OHV’s are purpose built vehicles and not “banished” to anywhere, these area’s have been set aside for us to access in pursuit of our hobby. Most OHV’s are street worthy vehicle lacking items that may be easily broken or are unnecessary during off-roading. Most off-road enthusiasts have a general love for the desert, and take great strides to protect what we use. We police ourselves, have desert cleanups, maintain campgrounds, mentor children and raise our own.

Painting all OHV’s operators with the same brush reveals your narrow-mindedness and myopic view of a community.

Most OHV users are family people who go to great lengths to protect our way of life, this is after all where we raise our children, spend our birthdays, holidays and vacations.


You’re not helping the relationship that is vital with the environmental community and the OHV community. Please do something positive to help us like contacting your governor or state representative with your comments and try to keep them civilized and of and adult nature.

With that said.

We are a community of hundreds of thousands in Ca. alone. Some level of immaturity and angst will be expected by the minority, however Blake does not speak for the majority of OHV user’s. We understand that there are limitation on what the deserts will and will not be able to handle. However the pressure of further OHV area closures will and has to some extent already affect the lives of HUMAN beings. Your efforts to rid the open areas of our country of OHV’s are futile and expensive, please act responsibly and work towards finding viable areas where OHV’s can continue to operate safely. If there were regularly cycled/maintained areas to play in this wonderful beetle will continue to thrive. Plundering millions of tax dollars into smear campaigns will continue to affect other services the BLM doesn’t have the funds for. Like defending the habitat that this beetle lives in for one, and forest fires just to mention a few.

January 21, 2009 at 11:00 pm
(8) Justin says:

Everywhere you turn OHV are being forced off of the land set aside specificly for that purpose. It seems that the sierra club and other types of people are out to rid the world of off road enthusiasts..were not going any where with the numbers of supporters we have and the help of clean-dezert.org. All of this effort to shut down an area all for a beetle seems to be another effort for the ” nature nazis” to try and get rid of us…We got the numbers and will fight to the bitter end to keep our deserts OUR DESERTS.

February 5, 2009 at 12:35 am
(9) Joey says:

The offroad community will go out of there way to keep trails and OHV areas open and maintained. Example: clean-dezert.org
Closing areas like this isn’t going to help the situation. How long has thus beetle population been there? It has survived how many years of OHV recreation? I believe that the off-roaders care for their environment more than ever. Please don’t shut down anymore land.

February 27, 2009 at 1:49 pm
(10) keysburg says:

Much of your information is outdated. There is no “war” and your post is inflammatory and unecessary. Please contact the Fish and Wildlife Service and get your facts straight.

November 24, 2009 at 12:29 am
(11) Jordan says:

Enviromentalists who decide they know what’s best for everyone, such in this case of the beetle, are selfish people who are so concerned with what they like and think is important, they are willing to do anything to tick a whole lot of people off. Most ATV riders auctually do care about the surroundings we ride on. People that share the overboard enviromentalist approach of close off the riding areas should go find a different endangered beetle somewhere we don’t ride. Animals come and go. By the way, I totally agree that we should take care of the enviroment to an extent. Have you ever heard of moderation????

February 23, 2010 at 4:28 pm
(12) Hollie Knuth says:

I have to agree with Cody and the rest of you. I build off road trucks and enjoy the sport. But I am also cautious of the land and animals. I love trails and animal watching as much as the people who are trying to tear apart our hobby do. This article deeply upset me because it is not to protect a beetle; it is a simple hate for a created stero-type. Its insane! Why would a person even post something like this! There is no good debate behind this article. It is merely a childish whining from someone who can’t look at facts.

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