Land access and border disputes are an intricate part of United States history. Utah has been rife with these same kinds of disputes. Having a large portion of federally managed land within its borders, land access is still making today’s headlines. To better understand the access picture, it is important to know the road designations that are under county authority.
Four classes of roads make up the road systems in each county. Class A roads are the major paved highways throughout the state. They do not include the interstate freeways. Class A roads were opened to all street-legal ATVs and UTVs in 2013 except Salt Lake County.
Class B roads are hard surface, usually graded dirt roads. Utah’s west desert is laced with an intricate pattern of dirt roads maintained by the county. Class B roads in Emery County made the news sometime back when the county sent out graders to reestablish their rights to maintain them. Some environmental groups objected, wanting the roads to fade back into nature. The county has the right to maintain those roads, but also the responsibility to see that they are passable because they are funded by the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) to do so. Class B roads are generally 66 feet wide.
Class C roads are paved secondary roads. Counties are funded by UDOT to keep them open and repaired.
Class D roads are the trails open to our ATVs and UTVs. These are also funded by UDOT and fall under the jurisdiction of county authority. As a rule, they are not maintained, but improvements are made by volunteer groups in conjunction with Utah State Parks, federal agencies, and the counties responsible. These roads are old mining roads, logging roads, and hunting trails used by those who worked to make Utah what it is today.
Now here is where it gets tricky. The federal government manages land in Utah through two…