Can You Drive Off-Road Vehicles in Silverton Colorado?

Jane Lu
· 4 min read
Skiing is the biggest draw for tourists to come to
during the cold months of the year. But there are other activities to do in the Centennial State when there's not much snow on the ground. One of the popular activities in the summer is riding around in
off-road vehicles
, but not everyone likes those in their neighborhood.
There is a debate raging in the town of
Silverton, Colorado
, about whether to allow off-highway vehicles (OHVs), which are often rentals, on the town's streets. OHVs were banned in May, but not for long.
Residents filed a protest and the ban was overturned temporarily, and the debate is still ongoing. This has made things confusing for vacationers and residents. So, can you drive off-road vehicles in Silverton?
Off-road vehicles are popular, but can be loud and disruptive

OHVs are still permitted in Silverton over the summer

You can still drive an OHV through Silverton this summer on designated routes. The
Durango Telegraph
reported that the town was overrun with OHV riders last summer, and town leaders decided to take action. This summer, after a "contentious, marathon meeting," the town trustees voted 4-3 to ban OHVs in Silverton.
The ban was supposed to take effect on June 20, but the ban was overturned. The messy debate and petitions might force two separate elections related to OHV use in the next few months.
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Will OHVs be banned in the future?

The final decision on OHV use in Silverton is expected to go to a general election in the coming months, but that's not the only vote coming up. Citizens submitted a second petition in recent weeks, which will force a special election on the topic.
The special election is scheduled to take place sometime between August 2 and November 1. It will give voters just two options: open the entire town to OHVs or revert to the designated routes like before. Notably, an outright ban on OHVs is not an option.
The future of OHV use in Silverton is unclear. If you’re planning a trip to Silverton for off-roading after this year, you’ll want to look out for updates after the elections.

The pros and cons of OHVs in Silverton

There are valid arguments that can be made on either side of the discussion around OHV use. The business community sees OHV riders as a
huge generator of revenue
for the town. OHV use brings in tourists, who provide a lot of tax revenue while staying at campgrounds and shopping at local businesses when in town.
However, there are a number of drawbacks to OHVs for Silvertonians. Many longtime locals have felt that OHVs have ruined their quality of life, according to Durango Telegraph.
Over 195,000 vehicles were driven across mountain roads through Silverton last year, a 23% increase from 2018, and about half of those were thought to be OHVs. That adds a lot of noise and environmental pollution to an otherwise quiet town with fewer than 600 full-time residents.
One resident, who has lived in Silverton since 1976, said at a public meeting that she believes the town "should not be subjected to becoming some sort of an amusement park." The San Juan County Sheriff Bruce Conrad noted that his office has difficulty keeping up with the number of riders who break laws.
Driving off-road can open up many potential dangers, so if you own an off-road vehicle you’ll want to make sure you have the right car insurance.
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