About the Bears Ears Resource Management Plan:
When President Biden expanded the Bears Ears National Monument boundaries the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management that co-manage the monument started the public process to update the Resource Management Plan (RMP). The RMP is the document that sets the tone for other planning documents such as travel management. We are currently in the scoping stage to gather comments as they start to update the RMP. This plan will designate areas within the monument as “backcountry” or “roadless” and also identify areas with wilderness characteristics.
As we have attended scoping meetings, many of the questions and concerns are regarding recreation. Pro-wilderness groups are looking to close as many areas as possible to OHV’s, recreation and have roads decommissioned and closed. If roads are closed and areas are established as having wilderness characteristics we will most likely see a push to have these areas designated by Congress as Wilderness in order to achieve 30X30. Some of the routes we could see closures on our Arch Canyon, Hole in the Rock and Lockhart Basin. These routes are notorious for many different reasons and are well traveled year round by locals and visitors.
One of the most heavily visited areas is used by rock climbers. Not only are OHV’s under attack through this plan but so are the rock climbing routes, dispersed camping sites and even areas used for over snow vehicles.
Because BRC as well as the State of Utah are currently suing over the abuse of the Antiquities Act to expand the monument we believe the BLM and Forest Service should wait to update the RMP until settlements are reached.
If the planning process does move forward the BLM and USFS needs to develop an alternative which not only allows for current recreation and access but looks to expand upon access opportunities as well to accommodate the growing popularity in this area. The Bears Ears region has seen a huge influx of visitors during the last few years and continued access is crucial.
Comments are due Oct. 31st. Please add your voice to ours and include any specific information you may have. For example, where you can land and launch a drone could be restricted through this planning process so if you’re someone who uses drone photography make sure to include that information in your comment. You can read the BLM’s information regarding this planning process on the eplanning site.