SHIVWITS, Utah (AP) -- Trespassing -- particularly by offroad-vehicle users --is a growing problem on the Paiutes' Shivwits reservation in southwestern Utah, tribal officials said.
Although hikers and horseback riders may occasionally cross onto Paiute land, the Shivwits Band is mostly concerned about off-highway vehicle users trespassing and tearing up the land.
"They do it all the time," said Lawrence Snow, a Shivwits Band councilman who manages tribal resources. "People just basically do what they want."
During a short tour of the reservation on March 25, Snow pointed out the effects of the trespassers. Fences were torn down, garbage was dumped off the side of the roads and the "No Trespassing" signs were shot to pieces.
Washington County maintains the Motaqua Road and some other roads through a right-of-way agreement, and non-tribal members are allowed to travel on them -- but not elsewhere.
"(Rights of way) are to go through the reservation, not to pull off," Snow said. "They'll go off on reservation roads. They'll go off on whatever they can get. If it looks good, they'll go."
Enforcement is difficult. Washington County sheriff's officers usually do not come to the reservation unless there is a call, Snow said. There is no tribal law enforcement.
Tribal leaders met Wednesday with Sheriff Kirk Smith and Undersheriff Pete Kuhlmann to address the problems.
Lora Tom, chairwoman of the Paiute Tribe of Utah, said she understands the sheriff's office faces a challenge because there are not enough deputies to effectively patrol the reservation.
The sheriff said, "We're going to try and increase our presence out there on a patrolling basis.
"The Indian land is private. There may be a road there but that doesn't mean you can go off the road. That's not being a good neighbor," Smith said.
Glenn Rogers, chairman of the Shivwits Band, said the sheriff's officers "do a good job in what they do, but they don't have enough manpower,"
Jim Crisp, manager of the Bureau of Land Management's St. George Field Office, met with band members Monday and discussed OHV use in and around the reservation.
He said the bureau will look at what it can do to minimize the problems and raise public awareness.
Rogers said educating OHV users through their clubs may help, but many of those trespassing may not belong to the clubs.
Deer season also brings a lot of problems with trespassing and people setting up hunting camps on the land, Rogers said. Poaching also is a problem.
"They even poach deer and throw their carcasses off the side of the road," he said. "It's hard to monitor these things."
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)