UPDATE: On September 29, 2022, the BLM released the final decision on the Black Canyon Corridor Plan. We are reviewing the BLM’s decision and will share an update soon.
Link to BLM Document page: https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/78300/570
The Bureau of Land Management released their Travel Management Plan last fall, which closed 58% of all routes in the Black Canyon Corridor area north of Phoenix, AZ. BlueRibbon Coalition joined a collection of OHV groups and mining organizations to appeal the plan and the BLM pulled the previous plan. In the meantime we have met with the new management of the BLM, and they are now requesting another round of public feedback on this plan. While some improvements have been made related to recognizing several technical rock crawling routes, the plan still suffers from several deficiencies. You can read the specifics on the BLM planning page.
Read our Draft Letter
Below you can read a draft version of the comment we will be submitting to the BLM. We are still verifying changes made between this plan and the previous version, but if you want a deeper understanding of the issues in play you can read the full version of our comment.
Listen to our Podcast on this Plan
We will be sending our comment jointly with Arizona Backcountry Explorers, American Mining Rights Association, and Arizona State Association of 4WD Clubs. Arizona Undertakers 4×4 Club is also submitting substantive comments about numerous technical rock crawling routes. Together we are a strong united voice for access in this area. Our four organizations have created a special membership offer in connection with this effort called the Arizona Access Alliance. For one membership fee of $100, you can join all four organizations. You will be supporting our work to keep adventure open in Arizona, you will be supporting a strong alliance that can influence the BLM to develop a better plan, and each organization offers a range of benefits to members. Be sure to check it out.
We invite you to use our tool below to submit a comment encouraging continued access on these public lands. If you agree with the concerns we shared in our comment, you can modify the action alert comment below to add your own thoughts and concerns. If you have strong familiarity with the area, we definitely need you to add your feedback and experience to this effort.
Keep public lands open for public use!
I was an avid backpacker for years but now am to old and have health issues preventing me from walking into these remote areas. The only way into these areas that they want to lock up now is with my Jeep or our Polaris 4 wheeler. Please, please don’t lock us out.
I enjoy recreating and accessing public lands. I believe public lands provide a valuable resource for all types of users and the BLM needs to fulfill their mission of allowing and supporting multiple use. BLM should prioritize public access to the public benefits that come from recreating on public land, and in order to do this I support keeping the most routes open as possible.
The BLM should fulfill NEPA and provide a true recreational alternative. Alternatives B-E all decrease the amount or area open to all users. The “recreation alternative” decreases motorized opportunities from the current management plan. A true recreation alternative would analyze enhancing and expanding recreation uses through the adoption of a wide range of management strategies other than closures. The only solution analyzed in each alternative is a different amount of closure. Closure alone is not management.
I also believe the BLM needs to strongly consider our Constitutional rights. The First Amendment protects the right of groups to gather and have organized rides where we educate each other on ways to best enjoy our preferred choice of recreation. I know this area is used for organized events and limiting routes could be violating those rights.
BLM should also include application of the Equity Action Plan that was released by the Department of Interior in April 2022 in their analysis of different alternatives.. The Equity Action Plan recognizes that off-road routes create a form of access to public land for those with disabilities, and BLM should analyze how the proposed closures would undermine the objectives of the Equity Action Plan. Specifically, one of the barriers identified in the Equity Action Plan is limited physical access. Oftentimes the only way many users can enjoy public lands is through a motorized vehicle. Limiting the areas these vehicles and machines can access limits those users who want to experience public land and contradicts the agency’s Equity Action Plan.
These roads and trails are also crucial for the local economy. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis showed that in 2019 the outdoor recreation industry brought in $459.8 billion nationwide, and other studies recognize billions in impact for the outdoor recreation industry in Arizona. By limiting or decommissioning trails the BLM could be harming the local economy and robbing them of potential economic benefit and it is plain wrong, this is not a grey area, it is wrong.
I was in the Phoenix area two years ago and hope to go back again. I am a jeeper, and very respectful of people, property, nature. I hope I can continue to enjoy this in AZ in enough areas to make it worth the trip out there.
I used to live in this area and though I moved away, I still come back to recreate on these public lands. It seams to me that the roads mapped are ones that provide the only remote access, not only for OHV use but also for camping and hiking. Is this incorrect? Some of this area is a bit desolate but provides wonderful solitude and great dispersed camping and opportunities for exercise. Simply closing off access such areas may be a politically liberal thing to do but it does serve to prevent people from enjoying the lands we all love and have tried so hard to preserve. What happens when few people use or care about what happens to public lands because they no longer have any connection to them, not having access to them? Politics always change over time. It’s best to keep everyone engaged rather than exclude anyone not in lock step with those presently in political control.
Use of the land has kept my family together after hard times