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By: Robert Janis

ATV Utah

A Hobby Becomes a 1,225-Member Organization

Gary Bushman founder of ATV Utah.
Gary Bushman founder of ATV Utah.
For some their hobby is just that. They will go out and pursue it on the weekends, and they might even do some volunteer work once in a while. However, for others it is a cause. Volunteering to do some things is not enough. You could say that they walk the walk and talk the talk.

Witness the actions of Gary Bushman. He founded ATVUtah in 1998. “I originally started it as a hobby to help promote the trails we have in Utah,” he said. “It has since grown to be a social network of ATV enthusiasts and a source for Utah ATV trail information.”

According to Bushman, in 2001 he became unemployed and ATVUtah “took over my life. I have since made it profitable enough that I can use my time to help benefit the recreational activity I love and to help spread the word about Utah and its great trails.”

The anchor of ATVUtah is its website www.ATVUtah.com. Also, Bushman operates several other websites which promote Utah, ATV trails in Utah, and supporting services. Some are free to business owners, and some charge a minimal advertising fee to help offset their operational costs. These sites include:

  • www.arapeenatvjam.org--promotes jamborees and provides information on the Arapeen trail. There is also a chat forum where interested ATV enthusiasts can “talk” to one another about jamborees.
  • www.utahheritage.com -promotes the Utah Heritage Highway and The Mormon Pioneer Heritage Area.
  • www.marysvale.org -promotes Marysville, Utah, and the Paiute ATV Trail System.
  • www.piute.org -promotes Piute County, Utah, and the Paiute ATV Trail.

In order to get the word out and to influence local city councils and other decision making agencies, Bushman directly participates in trail committees; and he is the area commander of the Utah OHV Trail Patrol for the Piute and Sevier County areas of Utah. “I participate both directly and indirectly with public input and comments on public land decisions,” said Bushman.

"So many trails, So little time"
"So many trails, So little time"
There are also online forums at www.ATVUtah.com which is used to both educate and motivate ATV enthusiasts and give them a platform where they can discuss their hobby.

Although ATVUtah is neutral as far as clubs are concerned, it does assist in promoting existing clubs and helps in attracting new members for them. With that in mind, ATVUtah provides free hosting for several ATV club web pages and provides them with their own chat forum section on the ATVUtah site. ATVUtah also provides free web hosting to several off-highway vehicle clubs, organized OHV events, and jamborees as well as space to advertise Utah events for free.

The site is also used to organize one annual ride called “The Big Ride.” “The Big Ride is a way to introduce people to new areas of the state and helps the state of Utah introduce new maps and information for those areas,” said Bushman. “We have had three successful years so far,” he added.

ATVers interested in buying ATV-related products can also buy them on the site. The products sold on the site come from such suppliers as National Geographic, RAM Products, and more. The site offers books, maps, map software, and ATV accessories. A portion of the profits received as a result of selling these products is donated to trail maintenance and national organizations and is also used to finance ATVUtah’s efforts.

According to Bushman, the most urgent issues plaguing ATV enthusiasts in Utah include educating riders where they can ride legally. “Off-trail riding is our most pressing issue now that all public land access is becoming more restricted,” said Bushman. “We work with the State of Utah to help educate the public,” he added.

The Office
The Office
Moreover, ATVUtah assists to promote the sport of ATV racing as well as recreation through chat forums, and it works to gain more access to trails as well as develop and promote trails by working with the state of Utah and organizations like USA-ALL, PLEA, and NOHVCC.

According to Bushman, ATVUtah has 1,225 registered members and about 600 active members. Benefits for being a member include social interaction with other members, keeping current on issues that ATV users in Utah would be interested in like public land use and ongoing education in relation to the sport of ATV recreation and racing. In addition, members have access to the forums and chat rooms offered on the site.

Membership is free. “If members feel inclined, they can donate to our ongoing operations,” said Bushman.

And as to the future, Bushman concluded, “We are working on organizing a statewide umbrella organization to pull all the Utah ATV clubs together under one association. We think this will help those clubs be more active and productive when they try to tackle issues that arise which are related to our sport.”

For more information visit: www.ATVUtah.com.


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