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Price/San Rafael Swell RMP to be released on Friday

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Price BLM RMP, is scheduled to be released on Friday. I received some inside information concerning the release. With the Moab BLM RMP, Richfield (Cainville) and now the Price RMP, this pretty much covers 1/3 of the State of Utah. We will not know the totality of what the plan is. Here is what I know thus far (stay tuned for more information):

1. All open areas will be closed. We figured this was coming. It will now be a reality.

2. Chimney Rock. I was told that we fared okay in this area. I am going to get to a chance to see the map of this area on Wednesday.

3. Wilderness Characteristics. They found a miraculous 97,000. This is a good thing when comparing what the BLM had originally recommended. It is a bad thing in that they found WCs in Cistern Canyon and Wild Horse Mesa, which includes the two routes from Mackey Flats to the Behind the Reef Trail. These two routes will remain open, but having them in the WC is nothing less than a slow death, especially if there is off route travel.

4. The 2003 San Rafael Travel plan is unchanged (this is the blue map that most of you have by now).

5. ACECs. Several areas were found which is designated to protect old mining structures and equipment. I was told that this will not impact route designations.

I will post more information when it becomes available.

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The summary of the changes indicates that the preferred alternative from the Draft had 247 miles of off highway routes and the proposed (soon to be final) has 606! In the 'history of the area section' they mention that jeeping got its start in this area of the country way back when due to the remoteness of the area, so I'm guessing that helped.

I haven't yet seen the maps, but more miles is for sure better and we know that we're not going to have free reign to run everywhere. It just won't happen anymore except in some isolated areas.

Post up what you all learn! I've only scratched the surface.

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Heres the OHV details of each Alternative. Open means, go anywhere.

No Action: (i.e. the way it is today)

743,000 acres open to cross-country OHV use

138,000 acres closed

1,598,000 acres limited to designated use

670 miles of designated routes (only those in the 2003 San Rafael RMP)

(the following are categorized as above, I just didn't want to spell it all out each time)

Alternative A:

0 acres open

370,000 acres closed

2,109,000 acres limited

2,430 miles designated (includes the 670 miles)

Alternative B:

0 acres open, may consider some small open ares on a case by case basis

446,000 acres closed

2,033,000 acres limited

2,430 miles designated (includes the 670 miles)

Alternative C:

0 acres open

743,000 acres closed

1,736,000 acres limited

670 miles designated

Alternative E:

0 acres open

1,520,000 acres closed

970,000 acres limited

440 miles designated (includes those of the 670 that are outside the non-WSA lands with Wilderness characteristics)

Proposed RMP:

0 acres open (will consider some small open areas on a case by case basis)

557,000 acres closed

1,922,000 acres limited to designated routes

605 miles of designated routes

670 miles of designated routes from the 2003 San Rafael Motorized Route Designation Plan

So, it appears to me that they are proposing 1,275 miles, with a bigger chunk totally closed than is closed currently.

Via their map, it looks like everything they are adding is N of I-70 and most of it is west of Hwy 6. How is the riding in that area?

http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/blm/ut/price_fo/Planning/PRMP/PRMP_Maps.Par.38098.File.dat/Map_02_74_OHVRoutes_AltProposed.pdf

If there are some specific trails they've left out that have been open before, or things that are really good that are missing, thats where I think we should for sure make some noise. Please share what you know so we can comment.

Thanks.

Dave

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We, the Sage Riders are currently going through the Proposed RMP. We have several questions and are meeting with the Price BLM directory tomorrow. The reasons why the new routes are north of I-70 is because the San Rafael has two disticts, the Price District and the San Rafale District. The 2003 travel plan only delt with the San Rafael area and not the Price area. 605 miles in not bad and can be workable; however, we must remember that the Price District was all an open area. In addition the RMP takes out several open areas that was part of the San Rafael.

Concerns:

1. The 605 miles is designated routes. I could not find any indication in the RMP that designates the routes as being single track, double track or two track. The Price area includes many miles of single track. It does not appear that the BLM designated any trails as single track. They are just open. This means that you can say good by to the single track. Without the designation the ATVs will destroy the single track trails. The only thing that keeps them single is physical conditions and the fact that there are not any maps out there of this area. We are very concerned about this. We gave the BLM a map of this area show which trails are ATV and which are single track. Having ATVs on the single track trails will also creat problems with the livestock grazers.

2. Second. East of HWY 24 is an open area. The 2003 plan did not designate any routes because it is an open area and it was specifically stated that this area would be address in the RMP. The RMP now states that because of an oversight no routes were included. So, to put it simple they closed 100s of miles of routes not to mention some really sweet single track trails that we raced in the 80s which were known as the San Rafael Mail Run. You can see some of the mail run race shirts in Ray's Tavern. Without any comment for or against, the routes in this area were closed. This is an appealable issue which we may pursue.

I will have a better feel for things after our meeting tomorrow. We are in contact with Blue Ribbon and they are willing to support our position.

I have been told by a reliable source that SUWA will not oppose it. This concerns me. It leaves me question to ask why not?

The travel plan of 605 miles is a victory. It is not a big victory. We are putting some maps together to see how much we lost.

We had a huge victory in the WC areas. The original proposal was over 970,000 acres. The RMP now includs approx 70,000 acres. One concern is that one of the WCs is near the Behind the Reef Trail which includes Wild Horse and the Waterfall Trail. These routes are to remain open in the WC but, as I have mentioned, this is nothing more than a slow death for those routes.

Thanks for your interest and posting information.

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Sage Riders & Trail Riders,

Attached is our "first reaction" to the travel routes proposed in the Price Field Office RMP.

In no way do we claim to have read the document, studied the document, nor to be knowledgeable about the document. We have looked at the travel routes (especially in Chimney Rock) and had a sit down meeting with the Field Office officials. This is a summary of what we know so far.

If you have studied the document or know more than we do on any portion of the document, please feel free to enlighten us and the rest of the public.

A single RMP is overwhelming......to have 4 or 5 BLM plans and 4 or 5 Forest Plans all come out for review at the same time is simply beyond comprehension.

Alan P. & Wade A. (Sage Riders M/C)

Sage Riders Motorcycle Club response to the BLM Price Field Office Proposed RMP:

After reviewing the Proposed Resource Management Plan (PRMP) and final impact statement and in meeting with officials from Price BLM Field Office, it appears that the proposal is workable. On September 9, 2008, Alan Peterson, Scott Wheeler and Wade Allinson met with officials to discuss some of our concerns. We had a very productive and informative meeting. It was refreshing to have a meeting in which our opinions and concerns were heard by a sincere ear. After talking with the BLM officials, we feel comfortable with the travel routes, unfortunately we haven’t had time to research other portions of the plan that would impact grazing, camping, mineral exploration, or oil & gas extraction. We’ve focused our study primarily on the proposed travel routes with an emphasis on the Price River Area.

We have some concerns in a couple of areas where routes were not designated, mainly in the Mounds and Green River area. We mentioned our concern that the Blue Castle Trail was not included in the proposed routes. We discussed the opportunity that this single track trail is for the citizens and visitors of Green River. The BLM took notes; however, it is doubtful this trail will be included in the Record of Decision (ROD). If it is not, it is possible that with the support of Emery County and Green River City, an EA could be done on this trail.

To help everyone follow the process, we need to point out that the 2003 San Rafael Motorized Route Designation Plan (Travel Plan) was incorporated into the PRMP in it’s entirety without modification. That Travel Plan includes 670 miles of routes that were previously designated as “open” to motorized use. Some of the more popular routes include the Temple Mountain Single Track Trail System, Waterfall Trail, Sid's Mountain Trail System, Behind the Reef Trail and other roads. We were disappointed with the 670 miles when it came out in 2003; however, that is a done deal.

The PRMP includes 605 miles of designated routes. These include single track, double track and full-size routes. Most of the 605 inventoried miles were obtained through GPS data from the Sage Riders Motorcycle Club, Carbon and Emery Counties. The Sage Riders focused efforts in the Chimney Rock as the Sage Riders and other clubs had held permitted events (Races, Enduro, Poker Rides, etc.) in this area. Events were held between 1982 and 2003. In addition, the Sage Riders M/C, BookCliff Rattlers M/C and USRA invested over $30,000.00 in this area conducting Level III Cultural and Archaeological Studies on the trails located in the Chimney Rock area. That said, we feel that the routes included in the PRMP in the Chimney Rock area will constitute a workable trail system with some great riding opportunities. We are very optimistic with what is included in the PRMP.

We discussed a few concerns about certain routes with the BLM officials. Specifically with the Chimney Rock Trail System, we are concerned that the PRMP doesn’t differentiate between routes for motorcycle (singletrack), ATV, (50” width) and full-sized vehicles (Jeeps, trucks, autos). We were told by the officials that this would be addressed on the ground after the ROD is made. This was encouraging to hear, as we feel that the public will need to know what type of vehicles can be used and what level of difficulty is associated with each route. We would like to see the single track trails preserved for single track use. In addition, there are routes in this area that cannot be safely navigated by ATVs. We have previously submitted data to the BLM showing which routes can accommodate ATV, which are suitable for full-sized use, and which routes should be limited to motorcycles.

Our second concern is that of the previously designated “open” areas. The officials stated that the PRMP doesn’t designate any routes within the previously “open” areas. He stated that initially, 122 miles of routes were proposed to be designated “open”. However, all of these routes had to be removed because the BLM had failed to provide data to the public for them to comment on these routes. We were advised that upon signing of the ROD, the BLM would conduct an EA on these areas dealing only with the proposed 122 miles of routes. I wish that I had a more optimistic report in this area. It is good to see the BLM commit to addressing this area. The 122 miles might include some of the San Rafael Mail Run desert trails (hopefully).

Multiple-Use advocates scored a huge victory in the arena of Wilderness Characteristics (WC). The Price Field Office RMP was put on hold a couple of years ago because SUWA sued the BLM claiming that the RMP had failed to address areas that had WC. So, the RMP was delayed while the BLM looked at all of the land for WC. After reviewing this issue, the BLM identified (data was from SUWA) 27 areas that could possibly have WC. These 27 areas contained 937,440 acres. This was a very scary proposal. Combined with the existing Wilderness Study Areas, an addition 937, 440 acres would have represented over 50% of the public land managed by the Price Field Office. That would have been a train wreck for the economies of the Carbon-Emery area.

The Sage Riders Motorcycle Club, namely Scott Wheeler, Alan Peterson, Dick Brass, Paul Anderson and Wade Allinson took the WC issue to task. After three months of riding and gathering on the ground data, we were able to supply the BLM with over 1,500 photographs and waypoints disproving many of the areas claimed to have Wilderness Characteristics. Our hard work seems to have paid off. The BLM reviewed all the data submitted by different groups and determined that only 5 areas contain Wilderness Characteristics for a total of 97,000 acres. This is a huge victory.

Another concern is that one of the WC areas includes some very important motorized routes. Namely, The Horse Valley Road, Upper Little Wild Horse Road and The Waterfall Trail. We were told that even though this area has been determined to possess “Wilderness Characteristics”, the routes will remain open as designated in the 2003 San Rafael Travel Plan. This is an uneasy situation for the future of these routes.

The PRMP is open for 30 days for protest. Keep in mind that routes cannot be protested; however, after the ROD is signed they can be appealed. I would imagine that SUWA will chime in at that point. In order to file a protest, a person must have commented during the scooping or draft processes. For now, protests must be related to the BLM not following proper procedure. For example, having designated routes in the open areas, without prior opportunity for public comment would be cause for protest. The letter campaign is over for now. We have been asked about letters and none are needed at this point.

At the end of the 30 day protest period, the BLM will attempt to settle or resolve all of the protests. It will take at least two to three months to resolve any protests. Once the protests have been resolved a ROD (record of decision) will be signed. It is possible that the ROD can be signed around the first of the year.

After discussing the PRMP with local members of the Sage Riders, we feel that this plan is workable and that we will not be filing a protest.

We wanted to thank all of those who took the time to make comments during scoping and planning process. We noticed that many individuals, clubs and land users from all across the United States submitted comments. A BIG THANKS to each and every one of you! It is also important that we thank Emery County Public Lands Manager Ray Petersen and all of the Emery County Officials for their support as well. This has truly been a battle that has been fought on many fronts. All public land users who believe in “Multiple Use” must stay involved and help guide management plans. The world is run by those who get involved…….so, JOIN – PARTICIPATE – DONATE !!

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A big thanks to Ophir and the Sage Riders for all they have done to keep so many trails open.:worthy:👍

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A big thanks to Ophir and the Sage Riders for all they have done to keep so many trails open.:busted:👍

+1 :worthy:

They're setting the example of what we ALL should be doing for all of our

current riding areas.

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A big thanks to Ophir and the Sage Riders for all they have done to keep so many trails open.:worthy:👍

+2!!!!! :busted::blah::D

ALL who have been involved and donated all the necessary time, money and labor on this and on the continual trail maintenance are applauded. I can't THANK YOU enough!!!

For sure keep us posted if we should comment on anything in particular in the future.

Does anyone know what the RMP says about camping?

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I have not spent much time digging into camping, but here are some things that we have looked into:

The requirements for organized group special recreation permits (SRPs) have been changed in

the Proposed RMP. All organized groups of more than 14 people within a WSA and 24 in all other

locations would be required to contact BLM. It is anticipated that most family gatherings could be

accommodated without an SRP. Contact by an organized group and BLM’s determination that a

permit is not required would be documented in a Letter of Agreement. The criteria BLM would use

to determine if such groups need an SRP is provided in Appendix I of the Proposed RMP/Final

EIS, Criteria for Large Group Area Designation.

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I found the following that was in response to a Sagerider comment about dispersing OHV staging areas:

"Vehicle camping in the identified recreation management zones (referred to as high-use areas in DRMP) would be allowed in developed and designated sites. Dispersed and vehicle camping regulations and number of designated sites outside the identified recreation management zones within the San Rafael Swell SRMA will be determined at the time the San Rafael SRMA activity plan is completed. Maps 2-71 through 2-74 of the Proposed RMP/Final EIS show OHV route designations for each of the alternatives analyzed in detail."

Among a number of other things, Blue Ribbon Coalition said:

The definition of Dispersed Camping should be clearly and concisely described in the plan.

BLM Response (in part):

Issues related to site-specific planning decisions are being deferred to activity level planning and implementation, which will be completed for areas such as SRMAs and developed recreation sites after the completion of the RMP.

So, it sounds like there will be restrictions on dispersed camping, but I'm not sure.

On another topic, it sounds like there will be hiking and horse routes too as BLM said the following in response to general comment #19:

"A multiple use travel plan that would include designating hiking or horse routes is not part of this phase of planning but will come later at the activity planning level."

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