Thank you Grand County Commission for denying a special events permit for Rally on the Rocks. Proponents of the event tried to frame the dialogue as an issue of freedom, rights, compromise, discrimination, equal access to public lands, and economic benefits.

1. Freedom does not mean domination. OHVs have come to dominate treasured public lands surrounding Moab including the Kane Creek corridor, Poison Spider Mesa, Gemini Bridges, and some areas of Sand Flats. UTVs dominate the Moab soundscape on a daily basis. 

2. Rights come with responsibility. The right to recreate as desired does not extend to assaulting people and wildlife with noise, dust, and fumes.

3. Compromise presumes potential peaceful coexistence. Equestrians, hikers, and mountain bikers peacefully coexist even when they have occasional, easily mitigated conflicts. None of them routinely generate noise that ruins the experience for others and certainly none that is plainly audible across significant distances.

4. Protecting people from harmful behaviors of others is not discrimination. We ban smoking indoors that pollutes the lungs of others. OSHA prohibits excessive noise generation in the workplace. See #2. 

5. Excluding other users by domination is not equal access. See #1. We DO sometimes exclude other users by design. For example, we don’t grant pedestrians equal access to freeways, nor do we grant automobiles equal access to sidewalks and pedestrian malls.

6. Accounting for economic benefits includes losses as well as gains. OHVs generate significant losses by driving away other user groups. OHV proponents ignore the loss column. See #1 thru #5.

Ironically, at least in 2019, event organizers admitted this “Rally Fact” on their website: “Off-road vehicles can be hazardous to operate and are not intended for on-road use” while simultaneously requiring “street legal only UTVs” on event rides in the current application.

The Grand County Commission acted wisely when it rejected ROTR.

Pete Gross