SALT LAKE CITY -- By foot, bicycle and motorized machine, ralliers streamed up State Street on Saturday to converge at the Utah Capitol building.
"Don't tread on me" read a yellow flag temporarily planted in the ground as the throng, some from the Top of Utah, arrived on the green lawn of the state Capitol.
Organizers of the third Take Back Utah rally announced they had counted 5,000 people at the start of the march from Liberty Park, although the group that stayed for speeches appeared to be much smaller.
"We love our land" proclaimed a placard in the hands of a marcher, the sign waving in the noonday sun.
The group's stated cause is to protect Utah lands from the encroachment of the federal government, a threat organizers believe is imminent and ongoing.
That's how Mike Arbon sees it. The Ogden resident, a member of Northern Utah ATV Trail Riders club, helped direct traffic as the group reached the height of the hill.
"If we do nothing, we get nothing," said Arbon, who worries about diminishing motorized recreation access to federal lands. "We are willing to share the land."
More than half of Utah is already federally owned, and the belief by rally organizers is that federal leaders want more control and more land.
"Call your congressman ... to help keep public lands public," cajoled Matt Westrich, a Roy resident who acted as a master of ceremonies on the rally stage.
A jazz band played as the group settled amid the statues, and politicians vowed to fight the federal government.
"The world is run by people who show up," said U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, who joined Utah Gov. Gary Herbert as one of the invited speakers.
A Utah Farm Bureau leader told the crowd the "environmental mafia" was out of touch with what most state residents want.
But a leader of a wilderness preservation group said the marchers' thinking isn't really part of mainstream Utah.
"I don't know what they are complaining about," said Heidi McIntosh, of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. She said she believes plenty of land is available for use by off-road vehicles.
For example, she said, in just eastern Utah, 20,000 miles of trails are available to ride on.
"That is more than enough," said McIntosh, who added that increased regulation would better protect the environment.
As the rally finished, organizers noted that gas, cattle and coal trucks joined the everyday off-roaders in the motorized march in the parade of interests at the event.
"I hope I am doing what you want me to do," State Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, one of the founders of the effort, said from the stage.
"We are trying to take back Utah."