Greetings! Time for another special Colorado Land Use Update. In this update we have news on two key lawsuits, several Wilderness bills and one of the most disappointing BLM Travel Plans in recent memory. Not all the news is bad by any means, and Colorado is experiencing a resurgence of OHV and Snowmobile activism. The anti-access forces are being thwarted at every turn. The update below has news from Grand Junction, where
Time for another special Colorado Land Use Update.
In this update we have news on two key lawsuits, several Wilderness bills and one of the most disappointing BLM Travel Plans in recent memory.
Not all the news is bad by any means, and Colorado is experiencing a resurgence of OHV and Snowmobile activism. The anti-access forces are being thwarted at every turn.
The update below has news from Grand Junction, where the BLM wants to close over 60% of your roads and trails after taking millions in OHV funds! There is also an update on two key lawsuits, Wilderness bills and a brief run-down on land use planning across the state.
As always, please call or email if you have any questions or comments.
Brian Hawthorne Ric Foster
BLM's Grand Junction Field Office Travel Plan
One of the hot issues from Colorado is the extremely disappointing proposal from the Bureau of Land Management's Grand Junction Field Office to close over 60% of the roads and trails that are currently open to motorized use.
You read that right... over 60% of the routes that are currently available for motorized recreation will be closed under BLM's Preferred Alternative. It truly is an outrage.
Indeed, local OHV enthusiasts recently held a public demonstration outside the BLM's offices. Check it: Residents protest BLM's tentative Resource Management Plan
A day before the rally, BRC's Brian Hawthorne attended a meeting with the leadership of BLM's Grand Junction Field Office and key representatives of the OHV community. The meeting was initiated by COHVCO's (Colorado Off Highway Vehicle Coalition) North West Colorado Area Representative, James Solomon.
Among the attendees were reps from local powersports dealerships, Colorado Motorcycle Trail Riders Association (CMTRA), Western Slope ATV, Grand Mesa Jeep Club, Book Cliff Cruisers, Bookcliff Rattlers and the Grand Valley Trails Alliance. COHVCO's Scott Jones drove all the way from Denver to attend as well.
Speaking of Scott Jones, I truly wish you could have heard him talk about the BLM's economic analysis, or rather, lack thereof. Jones eviscerated the BLM's quantification of the economic benefits of OHV related recreation, as well as their assertion that closing 60% of the routes wouldn't hurt the economy. Also great was Scott Lindsay from Grand Junction Harley Davidson/BMW/KTM. Lindsay said the BLM's preferred alternative would be nothing short of an economic disaster for a community that captures 51% of it's revenues from tourism.
The reps from the CMTRA and Western Slope ATV club made excellent points as well. Especially good was a very brief presentation by Lloyd Liebetrau, who served for years on Colorado's OHV advisory board. Liebetrau noted that funds from Colorado's OHV grant program contributed over two million dollars to the GJFO over the last ten years and this community has spent thousands of hours maintaining our trails. In return the BLM has given OHVers just 13 miles of additional trails in Mesa County. And now they say thanks by proposing massive closures.
In response to requests from the Mesa County Commission and others, the GJFO has extended the public comment period on its Draft Management Plan until June 24, 2013 and has scheduled an additional open house meeting to discuss the RMP's travel management alternatives. For details and meeting dates check our latest update here.
Local OHV enthusiasts, as well as COHVCO and BRC, are going over the planning documents now. Soon there will be a lot of good info you can use to comment on this important plan. Stay tuned to BRC's action alerts for comment suggestions and other ways you can make a difference! Tell your friends, family and riding buddies to subscribe today. LINK
Not a member of COHVCO? Join now! LINK
Several National Forests in Colorado have finished travel planning, and thanks to Herculean efforts by OHV users across the state, most trail systems are still open. Naturally, the next step for the anti-recreation crowd is to march into federal court and demand more closures.
Currently there are two lawsuits working their way through the courts, one on the Pike - San Isabel National Forest and the other on the San Juan National Forest.
Anti-access groups are hoping to set bad precedent that can be used across the state to eliminate as much OHV use as possible. BRC, COHVCO and TPA (Trails Preservation Alliance) are working to vigorously defend OHV use and protect against the possibility of any "sweetheart settlement" with the federal government.
Bear Creek Trail Lawsuit -
Rico-West Dolores Lawsuit -
Stay up-to-date on these and other important lawsuits via our Legal Action Webpage LINK
S. 341 - San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act
Pending Hermosa Watershed/Wilderness bill
COHVCO's Stott Jones reports that they and local OHV advocate groups are working with Colorado's Senator Bennet to clarify language requiring additional travel planning. Local OHV and snowmobile advocates are willing to accept additional Wilderness as long as the current travel management is not changed. The 2012 bill mandates additional travel planning which would most assuredly mean yet another round of road and trail closures.
Greater Canyonlands National Monument Proposal
It's no wonder OHV users from Colorado, and across the U.S., were outraged at the proposal. Not long after the BLM closed over 50% of the roads and trails in the area, Monument supporters claimed those plans "fail to address exploding off-road vehicle use that is damaging riparian areas, cultural sites, soils and solitude."
So, we imagine you're probably asking; why in the heck is this issue in my Colorado Land Use Update?
Well, its because there is legislation that would put an end to the abuses of the Antiquities Act, the law that gives the President the authority to lock up millions of acres of public lands in new National Monuments. That legislation is H.R. 382, the Preserve Land Freedom for Americans Act.
H.R. 382 would simply require the President, prior to designating a national monument, to obtain a state's approval for a monument located on federal land within the state, and would bar the Secretary of the Interior from implementing any restrictions on the public use of a national monument until the public had opportunity for input and the state legislature approves said restrictions.
H.R.382 was introduced by Rep. Virginia Foxx from North Carolina. It currently has 20 Co-sponsors from South Carolina to Alaska, but none from Colorado!
And that's where you come in. We are asking our members and supporters in Colorado to contact their Congressman and ask him or her to co-sponsor this worthy legislation.
Simply click here and enter your zip code. You can call or use the web form on your Congressman's website. Tell them that you want them to co-sponsor Preserve Land Freedom for Americans Act (H.R. 382) which will mandate local and state involvement in any future National Monument.
LAND USE UPDATE
Colorado River Valley Field Office - On January 25, 2013, BLM announced it would begin a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Roan Plateau Resource Management Plan Amendment to address concerns raised in the June 2012 District Court decision. Scoping comments need to be received by March 30, 2013. Visit the Roan Plateau Supplemental EIS website for maps and documents.
Colorado River Valley Field Office and Kremmling Field Office - Are developing a Resource Management Plan (RMP). The comment periods for both Draft RMPs closed in early 2012. Both Field Offices are working on their Final EIS/Proposed RMPs. The Kremmling Proposed RMP should be available in the spring or summer of 2013. The Colorado River Valley Field Office anticipates its Proposed RMP to be available in the fall of 2013.
Gunnison Field Office - The Gunnison Field Office of the BLM has been working together with the Gunnison National Forest and the public to develop and update a transportation plan for the Gunnison Basin. The BLM and the Forest Service have made final decisions on Gunnison Basin Federal Lands Travel Management. Each agency's decision is documented in a separate Record of Decision (ROD) available to the public. Links to all documents and maps are available on the BLM and Forest Service Transportation Plan website.
Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests (GMUG) - The GMUG National Forest Plan revision is expected to resume when a new planning rule is in place and the final Colorado Roadless Area decision has been made. For more information on the new planning rule process and planning rule history, check out the FS Planning Rule Revision website.
White River National Forest - Implementation of the White River National Forest Travel Management Plan (TMP) is now underway. The 2011-2015 Travel Management Implementation Action Plan provides detailed information on the Forests' TMP implementation strategy and can be found on their website.
The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible recreation, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. With members in all 50 states, BRC is focused on building enthusiast involvement with organizational efforts through membership, outreach, education, and collaboration among recreationists. 1-800-BlueRib - www.sharetrails.org
As a non-profit, grassroots organization funded primarily by membership dues and donations, we greatly appreciate your support. Visit http://www.sharetrails.org/make-a-difference-now to help fund our efforts to protect your trails!