Table Mesa in Arizona just north of Phoenix, hosts a variety of recreation opportunity such as OHV trails, technical riding trails, camping, hiking trails, target shooting and access to the Agua Fria River. It’s a rugged portion of Arizona that truly has something for everyone. Clubs and groups have organized rides in the area tour companies also use the recreation area to show off the Arizona terrain.
The BLM is starting scoping for the Table Mesa Recreation Area Management Plan (RAMP). Submit your comments using the tool below to ensure continued recreational access throughout the planning area.
In 2010, the Bureau of Land Management enacted travel management to designate over 80 miles of trails in this area. As the BLM looks to create a management plan for this area to guide all forms of recreation, no routes should be closed or decommissioned through this process as it is not a travel management planning period. BRC wants to ensure continued access for motorized users.
85 miles of routes were designated through the 2010 Travel Management Planning. The plan stated, “Managing lands for desirable recreation experiences that contribute to quality of life.” BlueRibbon believes that access to motorized recreation greatly increases quality of life for many users and our members. We want to ensure that same sentiment is carried throughout the Recreation Area Management Plan (RAMP) as well.
The 2010 plan also stated, “Minimizing the effects of vehicular use on other forms of recreation, natural and cultural resources.” The BLM should not be discriminating towards one form of recreation. There was no mention of other types of recreation having an effect on motorized users. The truth is, when non-motorized recreation wants exclusive rights to a trail or area it absolutely affects motorized users and decreases the quality of life for those users. Being able to connect with nature through motorized recreation is a form of therapy for many and benefits them in multiple ways.
During the public scoping meeting, BLM raised the question if the following facilities are effective or necessary:
Mountain Bike Trails
Let the BLM know that expanded use for recreation is needed for the future growth of these sports and this area. We want the BLM to create recreation areas which would allow for even more uses of these recreational modalities. However, decommissioning trails will not be part of this planning process because it is not travel management.
Land agencies such as the BLM, are required to analyze a broad range of alternatives per the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). We typically only see alternatives that analyze a range of closures. This does not comply with NEPA. The BLM needs to analyze more recreation and more access to show a legitimate “range of alternatives”. This plan should adequately follow NEPA and develop a true recreation alternative through this planning process. We will advocate for continued recreation access through this RAMP.
“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed a comprehensive scientific review of the status of the Sonoran desert tortoise and determined that it is not at risk of extinction in the foreseeable future. As such, it does not warrant listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).” Because this species has been analyzed for years in this area we are happy to see this report and the Sonoran Desert Tortoise should not be used as a reason to restrict access or close any areas.
Learn more about the plan from the BLM website.
If you would like to sustain BRC’s efforts to keep public lands open in Arizona, we invite you to join the Arizona Adventure Alliance.