UPDATE: Comment Period has been extended through October 21, 2022
Overview of the plan
Recently the Bureau of Land Management released the Draft Travel Management Plan for the Labyrinth Rims/Gemini Bridges area. This is located in Southern Utah between Green River and Moab. World class OHV riding is found in this area and it’s extremely popular for many user groups. With National Parks, National Monuments and Wilderness Areas surrounding the Labyrinth Rims/Gemini Bridges Area it is crucial that we fight for every inch in this Travel Management Planning Process.
A Comparison of the Different Alternatives
The Draft Environmental Assessment for the Travel Management Plan gives 4 alternatives. Alternative A is the current route system with every other alternative showing different amounts of closures with Alternative D being the least amount which you can see from the chart below. Alternative D is being labeled as the the Access Emphasis Alternative. While access is an important component of an alternative that would maximize, enhance, and even increase recreation experiences on these lands, we believe BLM should develop a true recreation alternative where the focus is on maximizing recreation experiences – not simply proposing fewer restrictions than the wilderness/conservation alternative.
Areas and trails such as, Hey Joe Canyon, Ten Mile Canyon, Hell Roaring Canyon, Golden Spike, Gold Bar Rim, Rusty Nail, Day Canyon Point, Dead Man Point, Bull Canyon, 3D/Mashed Potatoes Jeep trails, Dead Cow and Tubes motorcycle trails are being proposed for closure. Parts of Where Eagles Dare, Buttes and Towers, Wipe Out Hill, and 7 Mile Rim also will be potentially closed to OHV use.
In the maps above any route that is colored in red in any alternative is at risk of closure depending on what BLM decides to do. If have used these routes in the past or have plans to use them in the future, you need to share with BLM why these routes are important to you. If you have plans to visit Moab in the near future, consider visiting any of the routes colored in red and document their condition and why they’re important, so you can share this information with the BLM.
Not only are mileage of routes being decreased but restrictions on dispersed camping are also being proposed. In a separate planning process, BLM is developing a dispersed camping plan for this area. If they choose to close 437 miles of roads, this will certainly cascade into additional restrictions on camping in this separate process.
Update 1 – 9/15/2022
Listen to the lates episode of the Defend Your Ground Podcast, where we take a deep dive into this plan with Patrick McKay from Colorado Off-road Trail Defenders:
Update 2 – 9/15/2022
Errors exist between the BLM map images we shared above and the GIS files. When reviewing the GIS files on a map made available by Patrick McKay, we find that numerous more routes are closed in Alternative C than is being represented by other BLM maps.
Here are all the discrepancies found so far:
– D2398D: Part of the 7-Mile Rim safari route. Open in preliminary alternative C. Shown as closed in GIS data and route report for current alternative C. Shown as open in the PDF map for alternative C.
– D2398F: Part of the 7-Mile Rim safari route. Open in preliminary alternative C. Shown as closed in GIS data and route report for current alternative C. Shown as open in the PDF map for alternative C. Closure leaves D2432 and D2434 (both shown as open in alt C) orphaned with no legal access.
– D2398B: Part of the 7-Mile Rim safari route. Open in preliminary alternative C. Shown as closed in GIS data and route report for current alternative C. Shown as open in the PDF map for alternative C. Closure leaves D2478 orphaned with no legal access. Also leaves no connecting routes between the Courthouse Rock area trails and the Tusher Canyon area trails.
– D1944: East end of the 7-Up trail. Closed in preliminary alternative C. Shown as closed in GIS data and PDF map for current alternative C. Route report lists as open with a seasonal closure for alternative C.
– D1648A: Major Point trail. Shown as closed in the PDF map for current alternative C. Shown as open with a seasonal closure in both the GIS data and route report for current alternative C.
– D1217: Mineral Canyon trail. Shown as open with a seasonal closure in the PDF map for alternative C. Shown as closed and limited to admin users in the GIS data and route report for alternative C. Error observed in both the current alternative C and preliminary alternative C.
We will continue sharing more information about this plan as we take a deeper dive into the details. Meanwhile, we need the public to submit comments and spread the word about this plan now, since we only have 30 days to get comments submitted. There will also be public meetings where you can ask questions. That meeting will be held virtually, September 22, 2022 from 5-6:30 MST. You can find all that information on the BLM’s website here. We strongly encourage everyone who supports outdoor recreation access to submit a comment and tell BLM to keep this area open. Comments are being accepted until October 21, 2022.