Recreational and Motor Vehicle Use in Desert Areas
In recent years, The State of Arizona has created several new laws designed to improve air quality throughout the valley. As a result, these laws have greatly limited the areas open for the use of vehicles and “off-highway vehicles” (OHVs) on unimproved surfaces within the city of Peoria and the greater Phoenix area.
The State of Arizona has identified a large portion of Maricopa County as a “Non-Attainment Area”. Which means Arizona has failed to attain the air quality standard set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
This “Non-Attainment Area” is refered to as “Area A”. These new laws effect OHV riders who ride inside of “Area A”. Below is a map which outlines the boundaries of “Area A”
In 2007, The Arizona State Senate passed Senate Bill 1552, which became state law in 2008. This law requires all cities and towns located in “Area A” to create and enforce an ordinance that prohibits the operation of any vehicle, including an off-highway vehicle, on an unpaved surface that is not a public or private road. Below is a link to The Arizona State Legislature website to view the entire law.
As you can see from the map above, the city of Peoria is completely within the boundaries of “Area A”. Therefore, the city of Peoria created the following ordinance to comply with the new state law,
Peoria City Code, Chapter 13, Section 13-25
Peoria’s city code (PCC 13-25) restricts the operation of any vehicle on an “unimproved surface” unless the land has been treated in such a manner as to prevent the release of dust into the air. The term “unimproved surface” simply refers to dirt, such as a vacant lot or the desert floor.
One exception which allows riders to operate on unimproved surfaces without taking dust control measures inside of “Area A” is, the operation of vehicles and OHVs on public land that is designated for the purpose of riding and is posted on official maps by The State of Arizona or an agency of The United States. Currently there is only one area in The City of Peoria that meets these criteria. This is land owned by The Bureau of Land Management and located off of Castle Hot Springs Road, near Lake Pleasant. This area can be accessed from The Carefree Highway (SR-74) and going north on Castle Hot Springs Road (mile post 19). Follow the road and turn left at the “T” intersection. Once the pavement ends there is a wooden kiosk that displays a large map of the area and shows OHV trails. Riding is restricted to the official trails. Riding off trails is never allowed.
A second location that is open for riders, but located just outside Peoria city limits is the Hieroglyphic Mountains Loop. Often times referred to as “The Boulders” or “mile post 11.5. This area is accessed off of the Carefree Highway by turning north at mile post 11.5. Below is a link to the Arizona State Parks website with information on the area.
For more information visit:
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality
The Arizona State Land Department
The Bureau of Land Management
Arizona State Parks
Arizona Game and Fish
To report illegal activity in the desert area, call the Peoria Police Department at 623-773-8311.
For more information contact Sergeant Chris Webb at 623-773-8047 or