Without a doubt, irresponsible ATV/OHV operators are negatively impacting quality of life in Sedona. The environmental destruction west of our city brings tears to one’s eyes. So do the dust clouds. Many are concerned about health, livability, and safety for those who live in and visit these areas. There’s also potential damage to cultural artifacts. In town, Sedona residents suffer from noise, traffic, and safety issues. Our Broken Arrow residents are particularly impacted by overuse problems.
After speaking with many affected residents and giving comment at the Council sessions, I believe controlling vehicle speed is important. Lower speed reduces noise, dust, and damage. It also increases safety and livability. However, reducing speed requires deliberate road design, education, and enforcement. Limiting access to sensitive locations also has merit.
Awareness is growing about these issues. Sedona has proposed an environmental study. The Red Rock Ranger District has started a study of Broken Arrow, another will evaluate recreation demands and impacts district wide. The State of Arizona committed to a statewide study of ATV impacts. Unfortunately, these processes take time.
Public policy solutions require participation and collaboration from stakeholders: residents, ATV owners, City of Sedona, Red Rock Ranger District, the Arizona Legislature, ATV businesses, State and Federal agencies, manufacturers, and others. I wish it were easier, but that’s how we govern. We listen, learn, collaborate, and come up with workable, effective, and affordable solutions.
In the meantime, it’s ok that residents push for interim actions. State laws bind our hands, but not our minds. Let’s stay creative, positive, and reasonable. Awareness and education are key.
I’m running for City Council to improve our Quality of Life. Learn more at SedonaPete.com.