NATIONAL CALL TO ACTION
Help save Moab's Trails
Deadline March 31, 2015
From the BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC)
The Grand County Council has identified over 100 miles of road closures in its proposed Public Lands Initiative (PLI) plan to be submitted to Representative Rob Bishop. This proposal is scheduled to be voted on by the end of the month, so it is imperative for you to take action today!
Utah's Grand County, home to Moab's world class OHV trails, has been participating in Congressman Rob Bishop's Public Lands Initiative, a plan to resolve some of Utah's most contentious public lands issues, including Wilderness and OHV use.
BRC, our member clubs and other stakeholders, including counties, have been involved in the process from the beginning: Utah Land Use Legislation: Threats and Opportunities, Key Players
After last November's elections, Grand County's new Council initiated a process to put finishing touches on its recommendations to Congressman Bishop. OHV users, including Ride with Respect (RwR), Moab Friends-For-Wheelin' and the Red Rock 4-Wheelers have been participating. For the most part, the process had been proceeding in a reasonable direction.
Sadly, the situation has taken a turn for the worse.
Less than twenty-four hours prior to a public hearing on the matter, the new Council removed measures that would have secured long-term OHV access. Before OHV users had a chance to analyze and assess the proposal, the County officially finished the draft plan for submission to Bishop that would close over 100 miles of roads and trails!
Grand County's Draft Plan would eliminate the 10 Mile Wash Road and impose seasonal closures on Hey Joe Canyon, Hell Roaring Canyon and the popular Dead Cow Loop.
That's in addition to thousands of acres of new Wilderness in the Book Cliffs and Dolores River - areas outside of the existing Wilderness Study Areas!
Worse, the County plans to form a committee that would recommend road closures in the Dolores (from Beaver Creek to the south side of Westwater) areas. They expect to close at least half of the non-graded roads.
Obviously, local OHV advocates are disappointed. Not only were some of the proposed closures announced at the last meeting before the Draft was finalized, provisions that allow the remaining routes to be "grandfathered" and protected from future closures were not included in the Draft.
Ride with Respect's Clif Koontz described it this way:
Effectively, the proposal says that several high-quality trails will be closed now, and any number of the remaining trails could be closed later. While they don't intend to close the remaining routes now, they provide no protection from future closures.
WE NEED YOUR HELP!
While the plan is a "draft," the county has allowed less than two weeks for comment. It is therefore imperative that ALL OHV users respond to this important proposal by the March 31, 2015 deadline.
We've taken the time to put together some comment suggestions to make it as easy as possible. Just follow "BRC's 3-Step Action Item" below.
Thanks in advance and, as always, please call or email with questions or concerns.
Public Lands Department Manager
208-237-1008 ext 107
The Grand County Council has identified over 100 miles of road closures in its proposed Public Lands Initiative (PLI) plan to be submitted to Representative Rob Bishop. This proposal is scheduled to be voted on by the end of the month, so the final draft will actually be worked on prior to March 31st, 2015
WHY THIS IS SO IMPORTANT:
The Council will vote on a final version of its proposal to Representative Bishop on March 31st, so there's not much time. Environmentalists have been stacking the deck with their comments. It is time we respond and show the council that we care and that we are in the majority. Moab is a mecca for many kinds of recreation, although OHV riding and mountain biking are the only ones restricted to designated routes.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO:
It is imperative that ALL of us who wish to preserve the access we currently have respond to the Grand County Council and to Representative Bishop before March 31, 2015. Send Your Comments Today!
THREE-STEP ACTION ITEM
STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO EMAIL YOUR COMMENTS:
NOTE: Please be civil and, if possible, make your comments as personal as you can. If you can add any personal testimony about your experiences enjoying this spectacular area, please take a minute to add that to your email.
||Please send comments - Preferably by email: email@example.com
Or if using express service, mail to - Grand County, Attention: Public Lands, 125 E. Center St.,
Moab, UT 84532 - For questions, call 435-259-1342
||Contact Representative Rob Bishop's office
Washington office: 202-225-0453
Ogden office (main Utah office): 801-625-0107
||Contact your Congressional Representative
Find their contact info: Click Here
Craft your own comments or use the comment suggestions below when communicating with Grand County Council, Rep. Bishop and your representative. Don't forget to be polite and keep it civil.
SPECIFIC COMMENT SUGGESTIONS:
I oppose Grand County's proposal to close roads and trails. There seems to be consensus among many local stakeholders that BLM's new recreational travel plan is, with a few exceptions, acceptable. Legislation, even a designation such as an NCA, can and should "codify" the current management as a baseline. Additional uses could be authorized via planning and NEPA.
I support the idea of "no net loss" for recreational travel routes. I do not wish to preclude federal land managers from temporarily closing or restricting public access to a designated route for purposes of resource protection or public safety. Provided, however, that if the closure becomes permanent, or the length of the temporary closure impairs established access and use normally provided by the designated route, the land managing agency shall establish alternate access, equivalent to that provided by the designated route.
Grand County's "management objectives" are vague and use undefined terminology. The proposal needs to specifically outline what type of management the County desires. The establishment of the National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS) directs the Secretary of the Interior to manage lands in a manner that protects the values for which the components of the system were designated. This requires that special attention be given to the specific management intent. Specifically: recreational uses, including OHV recreation, must be protected and existing roads and trails preserved.