Mother Nature rides an ATV
Two small cacti have put a stop to motorcycles and ATVs on one of southern Utah’s most contested pieces of public land. On Sept. 20, the BLM announced that off-highway vehicle use would be restricted in the desert surrounding Factory Butte to protect the endangered Wright fishhook and the threatened Winkler cactus. The decision closes 222 square miles to off-road vehicles, but leaves riders a four-square-mile playground and 220 additional miles of established dirt roads and trails. Motorized proponents vow to fight: Mike Swenson, executive director of the Utah Shared Access Alliance, told the Salt Lake Tribune that Factory Butte "is a place that Mother Nature seems to have designed for open off-road recreation that the government has basically taken away."