RIDE MORE in FIlLMORE at the FILLMORE NATIONAL ATV JAMBOREE
OHV lovers listen up: We are right there with you, painstakingly counting down the days till the sand season is here, but have we got just the road trip to remedy your need to ride. From water crossings to elevation gain, desert terrain to tree lined ridges, two hour rides to trails that will take all day to traverse, we have no doubt that this road trip will quickly become a favorite. With trails specifically designed for recreational ATV riding, Utah is definitely an OHV owners dream come true. Just over 70% of Utah is federal land, with a sizeable chunk dedicated to off road recreation. One of the major draws to the area is the Piaute ATV trail that takes riders from the Pahvant Mountain range located in the Fishlake National forest and crosses three mountain ranges. Certainly the only counting needed for this road trip will be how many vacation days to cash in.
DESTINATION—Ready to raise the bar on your family road trips? Located 150 miles South of Salt Lake City in central Utah is the town of Fillmore. For the past 19 years, Fillmore has played host to the National ATV Jamboree. With great access to the Piaute ATV trail, this Millard County town has become the gateway to some of the most scenic riding Utah has to offer. During the last week of June, nearly 450 riders from nineteen states converged on the tiny town as festivities for the Jamboree got under way. Temperatures quickly rise to 90 degrees during the summer months; however, with some trails taking riders to higher elevations, escaping the heat is just a trail ride away. By nightfall temperatures drop in mid 70s allowing riders just enough relief to rest for the next day of trails to conquer.
RIDER EXPECTATIONS—With a salute to the flag, and a quick twist of the throttle, riders take off to enjoy over 200 miles of unbelievable trails that are as diverse as they are scenic. Organized rides range from easy trips to get both machine and rider warmed up as well as a few of the most difficult trails Millard County has to offer. Though some of the trails have water crossings that are easily navigated by an ATV, two wheelers are also welcomed. This Jamboree is JAM-PACKED with both day and evening rides, one of which entails overnight trail camping under the stars. To ensure a good time is had by all, descriptions of the trail rides are made available prior to the jamboree allowing for participants to pair their riding level with the challenge of the trails terrain. With 30 rides to choose from, six days hardly seems like enough time. Outings to natural hot water springs known as the “Hot Pots”, where riders can take a dip in the 100 degree waters before the late ride back to Fillmore and a visit to the ghost town of Kimberly, are just a few of the organized rides that participants will enjoy! The trailered Gooseberry Ride on the Fishlake Forest just north of Fish Lake will take riders into thin air starting at 5,000 feet in elevation to over 10,000 feet, passing through some spectacular scenery along the way. Riders shared “they especially enjoyed”, the switchbacks through the tunnel of maples from the bottom of Browns Hole to the top of the mountain. For the curious rider in your clan, perhaps “Billy’s Secret Ride” is more up their alley. This ride is recommended for advanced, experienced riders only and is an unforgettable experience. To complete the 65 miles of very rough trails, those participating need to have a machine over 350 cc with four wheel drive.
RECREATION—Each day the fun starts at the trailhead and pours right back into town. This truly is a celebration with events culminated around family fun. Riders can chose from a triathlon that entails traveling to 3 stations on an ATV. At each station the participant’s skeet shooting, golfing, and horseshoe tossing skills will be tested. For the younger set, an ATV Mud Bog rounds out the day. Events like the car show and burnout contest easily keep visitors entertained while others are busy shopping amongst the many vendors scattered around the park. By late afternoon, Jamboree participants line up on the north end of Main Street for the ATV parade. One of the truly unique aspects of the Jamboree is that everyone involved is a volunteer. All 20 committee members and 24 guides are dedicated to ensuring a good time is had by all. Committee members joke that all they got for their efforts was breakfast every morning and a new shirt, but it is impossible to put a price tag on the intangible things like the friendships that are built and the sense of pride in a job well done.
GOOD VIBRATIONS—Co-chairman of the event, Billy Shepard pointed out what makes this Jamboree truly spectacular is “that in a time when conflicts often arise between government agencies and people wanting to use the ATV trails, the area has seen the formation of a great partnership between government agencies, the Jamboree Committee and the participants.” While smaller in size than some jamborees, this one has a flavor all its own. “It feels more like a reunion of family and friends,” said one participant. The “little extras” provided by many of the campgrounds and motel owners keep participants reserving a place to stay nearly a year in advance. During the six day event, in addition to the designated trails, OHV riders are privy to use public roads that constitute the most direct route from a business or residence that access OHV trails. It also gives access to fuel stations and store fronts to out of state riders who are not street legal. When it came to planning, the Jamboree committee of volunteers did not skip a beat. Every morning, except Friday, Roland Turner and his crew prepare breakfast, as well as a Friday evening steak fry. Lunchtime plan to panhandle or purchase on your own, unless scheduled for one of the few rides where lunch is included. From potlucks to progressive dinners the only thing you will be left hungry for is more riding.
EDUCATION—Educate while riders recreate is the goal of the guides during the jamboree. Points of interests like the Clear Lake Bird Refuge, lava tubes, and volcanoes which have been long since extinct, are just a few of the many dynamic sights these experienced, knowledgeable, and friendly guides share with participants. The opportunity to show riders how to protect the environment as they are enjoying the trails is one of the greatest assets of the Jamboree. Fillmore has just fewer than 2200 residents, which are easily outnumbered by the vast amount of wildlife that occupies the area. To protect this habitat from forest fires, spark arresters are required for any ATV/OHV in the Fishlake National Forest. From local fishing to trails that loop through prime elk country participants are always amazed by what they see.
COLLABORATION—From Terry Scottorn, a museum employee who offers a state-approved ATV Safety Course for young riders, to the Millard County Commission opening a frontage road to make access to some of the more enjoyable trails, this Jamboree represents a collaboration of the local residents with the ATV-riding community. Besides the obvious revenue generated to the area by the Jamboree, the opportunity to educate riders on the correct use of these trails is priceless. Undeniably these joint efforts prove that protecting trails and the environment can be achieved by the union of governmental agencies and public committees. The result is a strengthened partnership between local residents, governmental agencies and the ATV-riding community.
The difference between a good ride and a great ride is that a great ride allows you to recall it for a lifetime as if it was only yesterday. The same can be said about the Fillmore National ATV Jamboree, a great ride filled with moments you will recall for a lifetime and leaving you with the impression you will be back next year for more. Preparations have already begun for the 20th Annual National ATV Jamboree in June of 2007. For information, visit the website at www.mooracing.com or www.millardcounty.utah.gov. Or Call 1-800-441-4ATV.
**A special thanks from Billy Shepard, Co-chairman of the Jamboree, to the many committee members and ride guides who are truly the people who make the Jamboree possible
RESERVATIONS—So what are you waiting for??? Check the tire pressure, pack up the toys and head out for the kind of riding that dreams are made of. There are quite a few campgrounds available for guests. Wagons West RV which offers both pull in and tent camping; reservations can be made by calling (435) 743-6188. The KOA campground in Fillmore can easily accommodate a sizeable toyhauler; reservations can be made at (434) 743-4420. Both facilities have laundry, bathrooms, showers and dump stations. While heading on I-15 to your final destination we highly recommend you adhere to speed limit postings on the interstate. It is rumored to have the nicest rangers with light speed ticket writing skills.
ORGANIZATION—The importance of organizations that defend public access is crucial to the existence of the many events like the Jamboree that are held nationally each year. One year, the Jamboree was close to being cancelled because of a conflict regarding allegations that ATV usage could cause irreparable harm to the environment. Luckily for the Jamboree, the Utah Shared Access Alliance (USA-ALL) intervened. Support and legal aid from USA-ALL, an organization that defends public access and recreation on public lands, allowed the Jamboree to pursue their plight in court. After attorneys presented the facts and that the committee had obtained all the necessary permits needed and that ATVs had 1/10 less impact than automobiles which used these well traveled and established roads the judge favored on the side of the Jamboree committee, and the Jamboree was saved.
For more information on USA-ALL visit www.usaall.org or call 800-944-UTAH.