Sharetrails Archive Site
Return to Current Site

Richfield BLM Travel Plan Suffers Setback

November 05, 2013 3:48 PM
U.S. Court for the District of Utah in Salt Lake City

U.S. Court for the District of Utah in Salt Lake City

SALT LAKE CITY, UT (November 5, 2013) -- The U.S. Court for the District of Utah yesterday issued a decision that declared certain aspects of the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) Richfield Field Office vehicle Travel Plan unlawful. BLM spent over six years preparing the Plan, which was released in October, 2008. The Plan covered 2.1 million acres in south-central Utah, and substantially reduced vehicle access, nearly eliminating "open" designations and restricting vehicle travel to a reduced network of designated routes.

Despite these restrictions, a coalition of preservationist groups led by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance challenged the Travel Plan. Many of their arguments were rejected, but the Court ruled that BLM failed to adequately tie its route designations to the "minimization criteria" first announced in a pair of forty year-old Executive Orders, and failed to conduct on-the-ground inventories for archeological resources in violation of the National Historic Preservation Act.

"We are, of course, disappointed in this result," stated Brian Hawthorne, Utah Policy Advisor with the BlueRibbon Coalition, an access advocacy group. Hawthorne noted the on the ground effects of the ruling remain to be seen because the Court has yet to decide how the BLM should remedy the 2008 Travel Plan. "Our work here is far from finished and begins with encouraging the Court to shape a properly limited remedy that allows the BLM to efficiently finish its business," Hawthorne concluded.

Numerous parties intervened in the case to respond to the preservationist claims, including the Trails Preservation Alliance (TPA), Colorado Off Highway Vehicle Coalition (COHVCO) and the BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC).

This decision comes in a long line of battles over BLM access management in Utah. A 2000 lawsuit by SUWA was dismissed on a motion filed by BRC, and that ruling was affirmed by a 9-0 U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2004. A copy of yesterday's decision can be viewed at http://archive.sharetrails.org/uploads/329-Memorandum_Decision_and_Order-11.4.13.pdf.

The Court will accept further briefing on the question of remedy. The litigation schedule contemplates now moving to the preservationists' challenges to five other Utah Plans, which include the Moab, Vernal, Price, Monticello and Kanab field offices.

###

The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible recreation, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. With members in all 50 states, BRC is focused on building enthusiast involvement with organizational efforts through membership, outreach, education, and collaboration among recreationists. The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) season is here. Federal employees, please mark BlueRibbon Coalition and Check #11402 on your CFC pledge form to support our efforts to protect your access. Join us at 1-800-258-3742 or http://archive.sharetrails.org.

May 31, 2016 3:24 PM
Some of the many historic OHV routes in the Pine Nut Mountains

BOISE, ID (May 31, 2016) -- Sharetrails.org/BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC), a national trail-based recreation group, today slammed recent decisions that would severely restrict off-highway vehicle (OHV) events and trail improvements in many areas in eastern California and Nevada.  The changes, in the name of sage grouse management, were demanded by a handful of preservationist special interest groups.

Read more...
November 23, 2015 3:16 PM
Associated Image

MISSOULA, MT (November 23, 2015) --Various organizations, led by the Ten Lakes Snowmobile Club, have filed a lawsuit challenging U.S. Forest Service planning efforts on the Kootenai and Idaho Panhandle National Forests.  The complaint, filed on November 12, 2015, in federal court for the U.S.

Read more...
November 23, 2015 10:38 AM

POCATELLO, ID (November 23, 2015) – Early last week, the BlueRibbon Coalition/Sharetrails.org joined with other recreation groups in a letter sent to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in support of a balanced approach to managing public lands as part of the Moab Master Leasing Plan.

The letter addressed to BLM serves as formal comments from OHV stakeholders.  It also represents an effort between motorized and non-motorized recreation groups working together for the protection of outdoor recreation resources on public lands.

Read more...
[Press Room Archive]