JUAB COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 News) – There’s a place in central Utah that makes you feel like you’re in the middle of the Sahara desert. It’s a popular spot to go off-roading, especially on Easter weekend.
ABC4 News takes you to the dunes in Utah’s Little Sahara Recreation Area, and the ranger who patrols it, in this edition of Behind the Badge.
Zipping through the sand dunes in central Utah right now is a popular place to be. Over Easter weekend, 15,000 off-road riders came there to kick up the sand at Utah’s Little Sahara Recreation Area.
“People are starting to get out, people want to get out and ride,” said Ranger Ira Smith, U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management – Utah.
The man in charge of handling all those riders is Ranger Ira smith with Utah’s Bureau of Land Management.
It’s a fun job, with a lot to do.
“It’s kind of pick your own adventure every day. I can go out… on the sand rail, I can take the razor out to Cherry Creek, or I can do a foot patrol on the campground,” he said.
Equipped with his own sand car, he makes sure riders follow the rules like wearing a helmet or not drinking and driving, and he confirms each one is cruising the dunes with a tall safety flag to avoid crashes.
“That allows one rider one driver to know who’s on the other side of that sand dune, you’ll see that flag before you see that other vehicle,” said Smith.
He said most riders he meets behave themselves.
“Have you got in trouble with the ranger at all?” ABC4 News asked one rider.
“No.. not today,” they laughed.
For those that don’t, that’s why Ranger Smith is on patrol. He believes these dunes are one of Utah’s unique spots on the map for eager outdoor lovers who come to explore a recreation oasis.
Patrolling Little Sahara isn’t just something Ranger Smith does by himself. The Utah Highway Patrol, Utah State Parks, Juab County Sheriff’s Office, and the Bureau of Land Management rangers all work together keep the dunes a safe place for everyone to enjoy.