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benefit ride in mountains above Moab

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THE SKINNY..

Expert singletrack in La Sal State Forest

August 30th & 31st, 2008

to benefit Ride with Respect, nonprofit

THE UPDATE...

Moab Resource Management Plan

The BLM recently issued its Proposed RMP, which is very close to being the final decision. Overall, the plan includes many primitive roads, from the infamous to the lesser traveled. The trails didn't fair quite as well.

To the BLM's credit, most of the singletrack and ATV trails from Crystal Geyser to Tenmile Wash will be designated. About half of routes around Bitter Creek (aka Utah Rims) will be spared, along with Mel's Loop. However, long-distance connector trails like Thompson will be almost completely eliminated. Several wash bottoms will be left open (i.e. Salt Wash, Tenmile, Dubinky, and Tusher), while many others will not. White Wash sand dunes will accommodate cross-country travel, though Duma Point and all other slickrock areas will be limited to designated routes. The plan isn't any more generous about non-motorized trails, either (notably the Blue Dot bicycle trail). Here's a rough breakdown:

existing roads: 5,000mi

portion designated: 2,500mi, or half

existing motorcycle & ATV trails: +500mi (BLM figures only acknowledge 200mi)

portion designated : 150mi, or less than a third (BLM figures erroneously include roads)

existing mtn. bike trails: +50mi (BLM figures only acknowledge 20mi)

portion designated: 15mi, or less than a third (BLM figures don't include Bar M trails)

Mind you, things could be worse. But the Proposed RMP passes up a great potential for 'win-win' situations. The Moab landscape is so vast that many more opportunities for both motorized and non-motorized recreation could be designated while conserving natural resources. I believe the greatest improvement would've come if recreation groups and individual proponents were more involved in Moab BLM planning from the onset (i.e. scoping and submission of route data). Let's not repeat that mistake; get organized, and be proactive.

Now there's an appeal period before implementation of the RMP. At this stage, you can help in one of two ways. First, influence your friends in high places (i.e. governor, county commissioner, etc). If you're not so well-connected, then simply contribute to recreation groups on a local, regional, and national scale (RideWithRespect.org comes to mind). Through politics and protest, there's still a chance to revise the plan before it solidifies. Then stay involved, as the plan could be amended down the road (for better or for worse).

THE FAT...

What better way to support your sport than a ride? Dale Parriott's Elite Motorcycle Tours will host the event to benefit Ride with Respect. RwR is a 501©3 that maintains shared-use trails (like Sovereign) and educates Moab visitors about responsible recreation. The desert is still a little toasty, so let's do some alpine singletrack. Besides, we could use a success story for morale. RwR has maintained a trail system in La Sal State Forest, and next year we have the okay to mark it for public enjoyment. On top of the usual log and brush clearing, we'll need funding to place directional signage, informational kiosks, etc. So join us in riding this slice of heaven, and help preserve its future.

On Saturday (8/30) at 9AM we'll stage from the south end of Spanish Valley (directions below). Heading east, we'll cross over La Sal Pass and above tree-line to the state forest. Then it's onto the singletrack, which passes mountain lakes and boulder fields among aspen and spruce trees. The trails are generally tight with good traction. After this northward traverse, we'll turn back west, over Geyser Pass, and then catch some two-tracks for an interesting finish.

On Sunday (8/31) at 9AM we'll stage from the north end of Old La Sal (directions below). Nearby are some remote mining roads within a pinion and juniper woodland. As we climb northwest to the state forest, the scenery will turn to scrub oak and ponderosa pine. Up top, the singletrack will differ from the previous day. Watch for grouse, deer, elk, and even bear. Then its a long way down the Twomile drainage to complete our loop.

Elevation will start at 5,500 feet and rise to 10,500, so you should jet the carburetor for 8,000. Gear your bike low since the terrain is mostly expert. Each day we'll probably ride sixty miles, but your range ought to be at least seventy for safety's sake. Bikes need to be currently registered, spark-arrested, and muffled (maximum 96 decibels, or 92 for brownie points). Quiet bikes, and only riding the singletrack at midday, will keep the hunters happy.

Also bring a tool kit, lunch, 100oz of water, and a waterPROOF jacket. Did I mention the suggested donation of $50 per day? Cash is good, or checks to "Ride with Respect." We'll get the transactions over with before riding, but you can always give more afterwards.

So what are you getting out of this deal? First, you'll have me leading and another guide to sweep. Second, you'll have the distinguished honor of helping to develop a trail system with proper management. Third, you'll have an unforgettable ride!

Please RSVP by Sunday (8/24) to CliftonKoontz at yahoo dot com, in case I need to find extra guides. For lodging, book soon to beat the Labor Day weekend rush. And never forget to Ride with Respect. -Clif

Directions to Staging Areas:

Saturday, it's approximately a fifteen-minute drive from Moab. Head south for about ten miles on Highway 191. After mile marker 114 (but before ascending Blue Hill), turn left onto a dirt road. Drive 0.2 miles, and turn right onto a raised road (along the SMALL power lines). Drive another 0.3 miles, and turn right to park.

Sunday, it's almost an hour's drive from Moab. Head south seventeen miles on Highway 191, then turn left onto Highway 46. Drive ten miles to La Sal, then another five through Old La Sal. At mile marker 16, turn left onto the Buckeye Road. Drive 1.2 miles, bear right for Buckeye, and drive another mile. Park in the small gassy spot on the right (before the Buckeye Road switchbacks downhill).

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