BRC Colorado Land Use Update

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March 13, 2013 10:17 PM

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

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 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
Public Lands Policy Director                        Public Lands Department Manager
BlueRibbon Coalition                                   BlueRibbon Coalition
208-237-1008 ext 102                                  208-237-1008 ext 107


BLM's Grand Junction Field Office Travel Plan
BLM to OHVers: Thanks for the million$ in OHV funds, now we're closing over 60% of your trails!

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 

Sweet!

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


LITIGATION UPDATE
OHV recreation in Colorado has been under attack by anti-access extremists for decades. These groups are funded by wealthy Trusts and Foundations, and they spare no expense in their attempts to close your trails. They are ratcheting up the heat and we must forcefully respond.

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 -
Many of you are aware that the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) filed a lawsuit against the Pike-San Isabel NF seeking to use concerns regarding the cutthroat trout to close the very popular Bear Creek Trail (and others). If you getting information from the media about the lawsuit, you need to take that info with a very large grain of salt... say, about the size of Alaska! Scott Jones from COHVCO reports that, while the formal litigation has settled the battle is far from over. COHVCO, CMTRA and Colorado Trail Preservation Alliance intervened in that lawsuit, seeking the best resolution for motorized recreation.  Those organizations have remained in the loop as the resulting Forest Service and “roundtable” process unfolds and determines the future for the Bear Creek and Captain Jack’s trail systems. Check COHVCO's (new and improved!) website for updated info.

Rico-West Dolores Lawsuit -
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Colorado Chapter, filed a lawsuit demanding the closure of 14 popular trails in the Rico West Dolores area of the San Juan National Forest. Last spring they moved for a preliminary injunction seeking the immediate closures of 14 trails to motorized use. In what we're calling a stunning blow to the anti-access plaintiff, the Court refused to grant the injunction. The case has moved ahead, with initial briefs filed over the summer and fall of 2012.  The Court has the matter under advisement, and will either issue a decision or an order setting the case for oral argument.

Stay up-to-date on these and other important lawsuits via our Legal Action Webpage LINK


LEGISLATION UPDATE
Colorado's legislators know how to tap into big dollar donations from the League of Conservation Voters and other political funding, and that means we'll be seeing a lot of the "same old same old" in the form of massive Wilderness legislation this year. Currently, only one Wilderness bill has been officially offered in Congress. However, as we so often say, stay tuned. There will be more to come!

 S. 341 - San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act
Introduced by Senator Udall February 14, 2013. The latest major action was  2/14/2013 - Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

Pending Hermosa Watershed/Wilderness bill
Legislation has  been proposed for lands near Durango, Colorado that was, more or less, a product of a collaborative working group that had met to discuss the area north of Durango in the San Juan National Forest. The legislation was offered as the Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act of 2012.

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
While not a legislative proposal, few land use issues caught the attention of OHV enthusiasts more than a request by 100 outdoor businesses represented by the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) for President Obama to designate a massive new National Monument near Moab, Utah.

Learn about this massive land grab here:
Another Massive National Monument Pushed In Utah! LINK
and
Important Follow-up On Massive National Monument Pushed In Utah! LINK

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
BLM

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
  
Little Snake Field Office - Travel & Transportation Management (TTM) Planning - The Little Snake Field Office has been broken into areas and an intensive inventory was began in 2012.  This inventory is being conducted by both on-the-ground observation and GIS analysis of imagery.  This inventory is expected to continue thru the summer of 2014. All information on the planning process is available on the TTM Planning website

   
Royal Gorge Field Office - Issued the final supplementary rules for the Arkansas River Travel Management Plan area. The rules were published in the Federal Register on February 13, 2013, and become effective March 15, 2013. Further information and maps are available on their
website.
   
Uncompahgre Field Office - The comment period for the Ridgway Comprehensive Travel Management Plan Environmental Assessment (EA) ends February 1, 2013. Information and updates will be posted to the Travel Management
website.  

FOREST SERVICE

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!
 

October 21, 2014 11:14 AM
CALIFORNIA & NEVADA - Tahoe NF to Host Open Houses on Forest Roads Analysis
The Tahoe National Forest will host two public open houses in October to discuss the forest roads system and look at the relationship between roads and various resource impacts. The open houses are part of engaging the public in Subpart A of the U.S. Forest Service's 2005 Travel Management Rule. Subpart A is an analysis of the forest's road system. The open houses are an opportunity for the forest to share information and the public to help inform the ongoing analysis.
October 21, 2014 10:10 AM
IDAHO - Sawtooth National Recreation Area Wants Your Input on the Wood River Tra
The Sawtooth National Recreation Area would like to invite the public to provide further discussion regarding summer travel opportunities within the Big Wood River watershed of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. Please join Forest Service personnel on October 22nd at 6:30 p.m. at Woodside Motorsports located at 4040 Glenbrook Drive, Hailey, Idaho. The purpose of this planning effort is to bring road and trail use into compliance with the Forest Plan
October 14, 2014 4:15 PM
WASHINGTON - Help Save Teanaway Forest
We received an update from Tod Petersen, Political Action Committee Chairman for the Washington Off-Highway Vehicle Alliance (WOHVA), on the Teanaway Community Forest.  Tod Petersen is also Legislative/Land Use Coordinator - Northwest Motorcycle Association.  BRC urges our members to take advantage of this opportunity to submit pro-OHV comments in the flyer below. We've pasted his update below. Please take a second to look it over and pass it along.
[Action Alerts Archive]