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Moab: More trails lost?

HappyJack

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More trails lost?

When did this happen & what happened?

(From Mondays Denver Post)

Off-road vehicle ban near Moab upheld
SALT LAKE CITY - A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management can close 250,000 acres of public land near Moab to off-road vehicles, including the popular Factory Butte area.
U.S. District Judge Bruce Jenkins said the BLM has the power to prevent or reduce environmental damage.
Jenkins on Wednesday threw out a lawsuit from the Utah Shared Access Alliance, which said the BLM acted in 2001 without taking public comment or holding hearings.
The alliance challenged BLM restrictions on popular motor trails, off-road travel, bicycling and scattered camping in areas near Moab and Canyonlands National Park. The off-limits areas are Factory Butte, Poison Spider Mesa, Gemini Bridges Trail and other BLM lands in Box Elder, San Juan and Emery counties.
"This ruling makes clear that the federal government can and should take reasonable measures to bring some balance to the landscape by preventing off-road vehicles from tearing apart our public lands," Earthjustice attorney Keith Bauerle said.
The lawsuit at least forced BLM to develop or update travel guidelines that accommodate some off-road travel, said Brian Hawthorne, director of the Utah group.
 
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John_Rock

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WTF!

That whole region was made the way it is by natural forces of wind and rain. I have serious doubts that motorized vehicle travel can cause more damage(if you can call it that) than forces of nature. Changes in the land is an evolutionary process whether by man or nature.
 
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Jason_25

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Not cool at all!!!

What kind of environmental damage was caused? Rubber marks on the rocks? It's a desert for god's sake.
 
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mattadams

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Sorry guys but I can see their perspective, and typically its because of poor etiquitte on four-wheelers parts. Have you ever been out there? If you enjoy the scenery and so forth, youw ill find lots of rocks chewed up by peoples udnercarriages, black tire marks all over the place, oil spots, trash, etc. While I'm never fond of closing trails and I wish moab would remain open as well, I can see their point. Who knows, maybe 500 years from now people will be walking through there saying "wonder what caused all the gashes in this rock?" even years after the rubber marks have washed away.
 
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John_Rock

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Matt, that's called Offroad art, made by us primitive species. It's an abstract art form.
 
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mattadams

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LOL well I know I've done my fair share as well, though I'll be the first to take a bypass if all people are doing is ripping stuff up...
 
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Rick

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So we leave rubber marks on rocks, and we scrape the rock with our chassis. Big freakin' deal. Our scrapes are maybe 1/4" deep. They may cover an area several feet in perimeter. Big deal. How do our scrapes and our rubber tire marks even come close to comparing with the damage inflicted by machinery operated by state and federal employees during the construction of roads, bridges, dams, runways? You know all those pretty colors in the rock as the road slices through the mountain? Even with 44s on every truck I think it would take every four wheeler in the country 2000 years to create as much erosion as the state does everytime it builds a road in the mountains.

How does our use of designated trails compare to developers taking bull dozers to virgin desert, meadow land, flood plains and farmland?. There is no comparison. Offroaders are just societys scape goats since no one, but the far left eco-extremists are willing to stand up to the people who are REALLY destroying our countries open spaces.

Our trails are such a miniscule part of the total BLM holdings. We cut through vastly undisturbed tracts of public land and for the most part it's obvious that the offroad vehicles stick to the "beaten trail". For those who despise the site and sound of mechanized vehilcles we already have millions of acres of wilderness land. They should use what they have and leave us alone.
 
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GJarrett

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Exactly. Where do they get off complaining about fourwheeler damage when the highway that the Eco-Nazis used to go look at it exerted a trillion times more damage to the environment than all the fourwheeling in the world will ever do?

The home or apt that a Sierra Club - EcoNazi - Earthjustice - etc lives in: how much damage to the environment did building it do?

This whole issue really ticks me off. I'd better quit before I type something I'd be ashamed of later :mad:
 
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mattadams

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Don't get me wrong Rick, I'm definately not in favor of closing the trails. I think our damage is minimal in consideration with other factors, all I'm saying is I can see their point in considering closing certain trails. Also I think off-roaders are often targeted for abuse when other groups are more deserving of it and that isn't right either. The issue isn't so prevalent in Moab as it is in other areas, the overal impact might not be much, but the specific target impact might be great enough to justify closing something and maybe reopening it 10 years later while things have a chance to catch up.
 
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JGAMBLE

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this whole thing stinks, and I might be moving to Salt Lake City soon too. Everywhere I go I can't find a place to play cause they keep closing em down.
 
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Positive Vibes

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I agree with Rick.

They are bitching about a few rocks in the desert but we will be burrying millions apon millions of barrel full of radio active material a desert not far from Moab. 500 miles I think. And lets not even start with the housing developers building houses in Mountain lion habits then kill the cats because they attacked some one because they have no where else to hunt. I could go on and on.

So what can we do as a group about it??????? Gerald any ideas??
 
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HappyJack

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I have good news. I e-mailed Brian Hawthorne and below is his response. He asked that I post it. I was in Moab last year and saw the no camping signs on Gemini Bridges rd. It is great news that no trails were closed. I still lost my favorite campsite north of Moab though.


USA-ALL LEGAL UPDATE:
Greetings All,

Last week was busy for USA-ALL's Legal Team. On Wednesday we had arguments in USA-ALL's lawsuit against the BLM and on Thursday we had a status hearing on the massive lawsuit filed by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance Back in 1999. (Look for yet another update later in the week for details on the SUWA case.)

Both the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News wrote stories on Wednesday's decision. Both weren't accurate and by the time the Associated Press got hold of the story it was being reported that Factory Butte, Poison Spider Mesa and Gemini Bridges were closed. *sigh*

None of these roads were closed and Factory Butte is still open! (Although camping is now restricted to a few designated camping areas along Hwy. 313 and the Gemini Bridges Road.)

Here are the details:

USA-ALL challenged a March 28, 2000 “emergency” order that implemented a Designated Travel System on nearly one million acres of public lands in Box Elder County. USA-ALL argued that there was no emergency and that the BLM simply
used the emergency order to bypass public involvement in the creation of the travel plan.

In response, BLM by order dated April 24, 2003, completely revoked the March 28, 2000 emergency order and a related 1999 emergency order. BLM simultaneously implemented a smaller emergency order (170,000 acres).

USA-ALL challenged BLM’s posting of signs, maps and other information directing motorized users and mountain bikers to remain on established roads and trails in the Factory Butte area, an area eminently suitable for open travel, and alleged BLM’s signs violated land use plan requirements.

In response, BLM withdrew unlawful signs and maps and agreed to use signs and maps that complied with land use plan requirements.

USA-ALL challenged BLM’s recent implementation of a “Closed Unless Posted Open” travel management in the Indian Creek Canyon Corridor, contrary to existing management rules which restrict motorized and mountain bike access to existing roads and trails.

In response, BLM reversed this unlawful action and has undertaken to amend unlawful signs to correctly reflect “limited to existing roads and trails” status.

USA-ALL challenged BLM’s use of emergency orders to amend the Grand (Moab) Resource Management Plan (RMP) without public involvement. BLM’s January 22, 2001 orders alleged an “emergency” existed on over 250,000 acres and
restricted motorized vehicle use and mountain biking to existing roads and trails. BLM’s orders also summarily implemented several no camping zones and restricted all camping activity to designated campsites without any public input.

On this claim, the court upheld restrictions on condition that BLM immediately issue a Notice of Intent to revise its RMP to allow public participation. The court ordered BLM to assure USA-ALL’s right to participate, and declined to address our
issues based upon BLM’s commitment to immediately engage in planning. The court also ruled that BLM has a continuing duty to timely review emergency restrictions and modify or withdraw them if no longer warranted. The court stated to USA-ALL’s counsel, “You have gotten BLM’s attention.”

It was an unusual to see a ruling from the bench, that's for sure. Judge Jenkins basically found that because of BLM's actions, our claims were moot. The Judge is scheduled to sign an order finalizing his decision in the next weeks. We'll take a close look at that to see if an appeal is warranted.

USA-ALL pressed our case even after BLM made those changes because of the importance of dispersed camping to our members and supporters. The BLM must not be allowed to move dispersed camping into developed camp areas without
following lawful planning procedure. Sadly, the Judge upheld those restrictions, albeit with the proviso that the BLM must immediately engage in a public planning process.

Here are the links to the press. Let me caution you, however. The reporting leaves much to be desired.

Court Bars Camping on Vast Tract
http://www.sltrib.com/2003/May/05242003/utah/59787.asp

Off-roaders lose challenge to S. Utah road closures
http://www.desnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,505035412,00.html
 
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GJarrett

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USA-ALL

Sounds like an organization that I may want to help support.

FYI, the BLM submits all of this stuff in an effort to get around several laws that protect the rights to keep the trails open. I talked with a Red Rock 4 Wheeler during my "Herc Tour" who told me of an 80+ year old local retired person (I think he was like 86 or something) whose hobby is to research and document old roads in the area. Many if not most of Moab's trails are old mining roads that have eroded. That legally makes them a road, not a trail. This old man researches old mining papers and then GPS maps the roads (trails) to document their existence. For example, Helldorado used to be a road, believe it or not, and efforts such as that prevents the BLM from closing it.

Interesting stuff, but also further proof that it takes much effort to retain our rights in the face of those who get pleasure not out of enjoying their own interests, but in ruining that of others.
 
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HappyJack

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I see in United's Voice that Brian is going to run for Vice President of UFWDA. I am a member of USA-ALL. I will continue to be one. As soon as I can scrape together a few $$'s I'll send it that way. Looks like they can use it to keep our Public Lands, public. Below is a link if anyone would like more information.

http://www.usa-all.com
 
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