Utah Republican seeks more vehicle access on public lands

By Scott Streater | 06/20/2024 06:27 AM EDT

Legislation introduced by Sen. Mike Lee deals with off-highway vehicles.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing entitled "Big Tech and the Online Child Sexual Exploitation Crisis" on Capitol Hill Jan. 31, 2024. (Francis Chung/POLITICO via AP Images)

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) at a January hearing. He introduced legislation Monday on off-highway vehicle use. Francis Chung/POLITICO

Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee this week introduced three bills that would open up public lands for off-highway vehicles in national parks and bicycles in wilderness areas.

The focus of two of the three bills is off-highway vehicle use, and restrictions by the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service. The bills, introduced Monday, would give states greater control on off-highway vehicle, or OHV, use on federal lands.

“In each of these bills, we aim to return control to those who are closest to our public lands — the states and local communities,” Lee said in a statement. “By doing so, we can ensure that our conservation efforts are practical, effective, and tailored to the unique characteristics of each area, while expanding access for all Americans to enjoy our nation’s natural beauty.”


The debate over the use of off-highway vehicles on public lands has been persistent over the years, often involving lawsuits between environmentalists and the federal government.