With the help of a U.S. Forest Service Ranger, Pitkin County has begun enforcement of the State Law that bans unlicensed off-highway vehicles (OHVs) on public roads, which includes all Pitkin County Roads. Pitkin County Commissioners voted last year to better enforce the OHV restriction after conducting extensive public outreach. The outreach included a survey in which over 60% of County residents responding said they desired no or severely limited OHV use on County roads.
The Pitkin County Sheriff’s office has historically not had the resources to patrol and enforce the regulation, especially on backcountry roads where most OHV use occurs. Because most OHV use on County roads occurs on U.S. Forest Service lands, the County contracted with the USFS to patrol and enforce the law beginning this summer. Roads in the Aspen area where OHVs are prohibited include Smuggler Mountain Road, Richmond Ridge, Midnight Mine, Little Annie, and Express Creek.
“As more retail establishments in Aspen began renting OHVs and their popularity grew, Pitkin County residents expressed dismay with their impacts on our backcountry roads,” said Pitkin County Public Works Director, Brian Pettet. "It was time for us to begin enforcing the law that has been on the books for decades.”
Pitkin County has already reached out to retail establishments in the area that rent OHVs for their help communicating the law to their customers and to remind them that there are many U.S. Forest Service roads in the area that are open to OHV use. The Pitkin County Road and Bridge Department is installing signs on backcountry County roads to alert recreationalists.
“We are taking an educational approach at first,” said Pettet. “First we’ll remind and inform the public about the law before we implement any fines to offenders. “We anticipate this approach will be well-received and that most folks will listen and find alternative legal routes to ride."
Contact: Brian Pettet - Public Works Director - 970-920-5392