SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (November 5, 2020)–Yesterday afternoon, the Bureau of Land Management Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) rejected the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) appeal and request to stay the final Record of Decision for the San Rafael Desert Travel Management Plan. On August 21, 2020, the Price Field Office of the BLM released the Record of Decision and Finding of No Significant Impact for the San Rafael Desert Management Plan. On September 23, 2020, SUWA appealed the decision.

SUWA claims the travel plan would “adversely affect Appellants’ members’ health, recreational spiritual, educational aesthetic and other interests in the San Rafael Desert.” 

As justification for denying SUWA’s petition for stay, BLM states, “In considering Appellants’ petition for stay, we begin our analysis with the third regulatory criterion – the likelihood of immediate and irreparable harm if a stay is not granted. To satisfy this criterion, Appellants must demonstrate that the harm if a stay is not granted is both immediate and irreparable. Bare allegations of harm are not sufficient, and Appellants cannot meet their burden of proof under this criterion if they make allegations that are ‘unsupported, vague, or speculative.’”

BlueRibbon Coalition supports BLM’s rejection of SUWA’s frivolous appeal.

“We are excited to work with BLM and the off-road community to implement this plan. The plan more than doubled the mileage of roads and trails that are designated as open in the San Rafael Desert, and we look forward to educating our members on how they can responsibly explore and find adventure in this spectacular area,” BlueRibbon Coalition Policy Director, Ben Burr said. “We were also alarmed to see SUWA attempt to restrict dispersed camping in their appeal. Dispersed camping is one of the most popular forms of outdoor recreation that is supported and enjoyed by even many who sympathize with SUWA’s mission. It appears from their appeal that SUWA won’t be satisfied until there is no public access for anyone to public land.” 

BlueRibbon Coalition has created the Dispersed Camping Access Alliance to educate dispersed camping enthusiasts about an emerging and growing threat to one of America’s favorite pastimes.

The BlueRibbon Coalition/Sharetrails is a national non-profit organization that champions responsible recreation and encourages a strong conservation ethic and individual stewardship.

We champion responsible use of public lands and waters for the benefit of all recreationists by educating and empowering our members to secure, protect, and expand shared outdoor recreation access and use by working collaboratively with natural resource managers and other recreationists.