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BLM Needs to Hear Your Opinion on the San Rafael Swell

We have a very important update regarding a new Resource Management Plan in the scenic recreational destination known as the San Rafael Swell. The Utah Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) Price Field Office released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and Draft Resource Management Plan (DRMP) containing some of the most restrictive recreation management outside of a National Park.

The draft plan includes severe group size limits, strict limits on dispersed camping, mandatory use fees under certain conditions and thousands of miles of road and trail closures.

Our national partners, the BlueRibbon Coalition as well as the United Four Wheel Drive Associations believe this new plan could represent a very dangerous trend. They join me in asking for your special attention to this important planning process. The BRC, United and USA-ALL will be working together oppose arbitrary restrictions on recreational access to public lands. With your help, we can be successful. So please take a minute to send the BLM some comments in this important plan.

Sincerely,

Mike Swenson

Executive Director Utah Shared Access Alliance (USA-ALL)

Phone: 801/465-1145 or toll free 1-866-265-3434

Fax: 801/798-6186

Email: mikes@usa-all.com

WHY THIS IS SO IMPORTANT:

While the plan at issue is located in Central Utah, the radical restrictions proposed in this draft plan may set a precedent and have profound affects to EVERYONE who visit BLM lands.

The BLM is updating RMP's all over the West, including popular OHV destinations in Idaho, New Mexico, Arizona, Montana, California, and Nevada. BLM field offices are watching this draft plan very closely. If not opposed successfully, it may well set a precedent for other areas undergoing planning. It is vitally important that all recreationists, and especially the OHV community, speak out against these radical restrictions.

BRC's review of the draft plan and its impacts to recreation is available on their website. www.sharetrails.org/uploads/PDFs/BRC_Initial_Review.pdf

FAIR WARNING:

The restrictions outlined in the plan are extreme. The misstatements, omissions and errors in the OHV management section are offensive to any fair-minded vehicle enthusiast. Prepare to be outraged!

On the other hand, for those who enjoy getting a bit riled up and seeing just how far the bureaucrats want to go in limiting American's access to public lands, we recommend a quick read of the Summary, but then scrolling immediately to page 6.

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO:

A simple email form letter will NOT be effective against these new restrictive policies. USA-ALL is encouraging all of our ACTION ALERT subscribers to contact the BLM via email as soon as possible. We've has made it as easy as possible. Please read BRC's analysis on their website and see our comment suggestions below.

Comments on the DRMP/DEIS will be accepted through November 29, 2004.

Written comments should be sent to:

Price Field Office RMP Comments

Attention: Floyd Johnson,

125 S. 600 W.

Price, Utah, 84501

Comments may be sent via email to:

Floyd Johnson at:

comments@pricermp.com

The DRMP/DEIS and other information are available on BLM's website: www.pricermp.com/

COMMENT SUGGESTIONS:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As always, a short paragraph about yourself, your club and how much you enjoy vehicle access to public lands is a good way to begin.

ISSUE: BLM states the San Rafael Route Designation Plan will be incorporated into the new management plan, but does not tell the public that other management "layers" will make significant road and trail closures.

COMMENT: The BLM must accurately disclose all changes that each alternative may make to the San Rafael Route Designation Plan.

ISSUE: BLM is proposing severe group size limits. Group size limits puts clubs, large families and the American Public under unfair and arbitrary restrictions. According to analysis conducted in the SRRDP, OHV use under current use levels causes no significant impacts.

COMMENT: There is no justification for the kind of group size limits proposed in any of the alternatives. The BLM should stick with the proven 50 vehicle limit and not impose National Park style management on public lands.

ISSUE: BLM states the Chimney Rock/Summerville Trail system will be designated open, but does not include this popular OHV trail system on the Preferred Alternative OHV Route Designation Map.

COMMENT: Tell the BLM that you will not tolerate this kind of deception. The OHV community deserves to be treated with respect. Tell the BLM that their maps must be updated to accurately portray the OHV designations outlined in each alternative.

ISSUE: BLM indicates many miles of roads and trails will be open for OHV use via the Preferred Alternative OHV Designation Map. Sadly, most of the 'green lines' on Map 2-NUMBER HERE are actually closed to unlicensed OHV use.

COMMENT: Ask the BLM how many miles of OHV routes on Map 2-56 are currently ILLEGAL for unlicensed OHV use?

ISSUE: BLM has proposed many overlapping management "layers" in the San Rafael Swell. Each layer brings with it discrete management restrictions, yet, are not drawn along any recognizable geographic boundary making compliance virtually impossible.

COMMENT: BLM needs to know that the recreating public will not tolerate overly restrictive and impossible to understand restrictions on camping and vehicle recreation. Tell the BLM you oppose all the management "layers" outlined in the draft plan.

ISSUE: Popular OHV Trail Systems must remain open.

COMMENT: Tell the BLM that all of the Chimney Rock/Summerville and Humbug trail systems should be left open. Ask them to designate links to the Arapeen Trail System. Tell them to keep all existing roads and trails open for vehicle use.

Your comments and suggestions are VERY important. Thanks for your help in fighting for such important issues.

Just curious but when was this article dated? There were issues in the Swell that were decided 2 years ago when the surrounding residents voted against closures.

I just got the above from the president of USA-ALL (Utah shared access alliance/ Utah's version of COHVCO) last week.

Rod

Crap, I thought this stuff was somewhat put to bed and it's coming back again now. We rode the Swell for years because we thought it was going to close. They did shut off some places but for the most part, a lot of the trails stayed open.

i fowarded that email to all my ridin friends told them to rite to them it will make a difference

please do the same with it we drive nearly 1800 mile 1 way to ride in the area well with it help save it y'all

:cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry::lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol::p:cry:;) ;) :cry: :cry: :cry::lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol::cry:

:cry:

i felt the same way

Here is my letter to them. Hope it helps.

I encourage everyone to read the alternatives and comment based on your experiences. Comments like "this sucks" will not help. Tell them your concerns, give examples, say what is needed to clarify your position. Any area specific items you can include will help.

Dear Planning Team,

After reviewing the alternatives for OHV use on the Price Field Office Management area I find that the alternatives only vary slightly and do not represent the variety of reasonable alternatives as required.

While reviewing the map I noticed that the only changes in management are small additions in areas closed to OHV use from one map to the next. This is not acceptable. The no action alternative shows that there are presently many large areas open to OHV use off designated trails. In none of the other alternatives are any of these open areas present. This is unacceptable and does not represent a full range of alternatives considering the present uses.

In your analysis you do not recognize the fact that much of the BLM managed public lands do not contain the dense vegetation and/or topographic constraints needed for a successful trails only plan. The open pinion-juniper, shrub land, and grass vegetation types are more conducive for open OHV play areas. The exception to this is single-track motorcycle specific trails in pinion-juniper vegetation types, and canyon areas that have the topographic constraints. For example the single-track trail Five miles of Hell is sustainable in its current condition due to the constraints of topography and the Cherry Creek single-track motorized trails near Delta, UT are sustainable in the pinion-juniper types because motorcycles are not as capable for pioneering trails as other OHVs.

Another factor that is overlooked is that all OHVs are not the same. Motorcycles enjoy single-track trails, ATVs require double-track trails and four wheel drive vehicles desire rugged roads. Additionally, each of these vehicles has different impacts on the land because of the differing desires and widths.

In summary please re-evaluate your alternatives to include larger open areas for all OHV use and consider areas suitable for sustainable single-track motorcycle trails. OHVs are not all equal and require different types of areas, trails, and experiences. Do not create alternatives that assume all OHVs are the same.

I realize that the growth of off highway vehicle numbers has created management challenges but the fact is that the majority of users respect the land and responsibly use the open areas and trails. The solution is not to close the open areas but to work with responsible OHV users to realize solutions and help enforce the rules.

Thank you for your consideration.

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