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mr4x4 04-25-2007 02:12 PM

we may lose moab

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said today that he will introduce legislation in the Senate this week to protect America's Red Rock Wilderness, approximately 9.4 million acres of spectacular and rare wilderness in southern Utah. Currently managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the agency is not prohibited from selling, leasing or building roads in parts of this publicly held land. An identical bill was introduced in the House by U.S. Representative Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) today.
"Sunday is Earth Day and it is a fitting opportunity for all Americans to rededicate themselves to protecting our nation's natural resources," Durbin said. "I encourage the Senate to do its part as well by supporting the America's Red Rock Wilderness Act, critical legislation that will preserve a national treasure for future generations of Americans."
Durbin's bill would designate 9.4 millions acres in Utah as wilderness under the 1964 Wilderness Act. The bill provides wilderness protection for wildlands, which include steep red rock canyons, enormous arches and towering cliffs with spectacular vistas of unmatched sandstone landscapes. Hidden within this expansive setting are world-renowned archeological sites and habitat for rare plant and animal species. These areas are a haven for those seeking solace in nature, including hikers, backpackers and recreationists.
The lands designated as wilderness in Durbin and Hinchey's legislation were primarily identified through a detailed and extensive public inventory of BLM lands conducted by volunteers from the Utah Wilderness Coalition. By designating certain areas as wilderness, the bill protects them from new commercial enterprise/development, oil and gas exploration, motorized/mechanized vehicles, and road building. Non-consumptive uses such as hunting, fishing, camping, backpacking, hiking, and horseback riding are permitted under the legislation. "I believe it is the responsibility of Congress to ensure that these fragile lands of magnificent beauty, which already belong to the public, do not fall victim to oil, gas and mining interests, increased commercial development, and proposals to construct roads, utility lines, and dams. We are the stewards of these creations and our legislation will help achieve this important goal," Durbin concluded.

mr4x4 04-25-2007 02:13 PM

Here's a letter that was sent by somebody else but said okay to copy!

A copy of the letter I wrote, feel free to plagerize

> Dear Mr. Durbin,
> I read the announcement today regarding your intent to re-introduce a bill protecting America's red rock deserts.
> I am an avid camper, sightseer, and lover of the environment. However, I see all the sights and travel to all these spectacular places in my 4-wheel drive vehicle.
> I am asking that you do not close the off road vehicle trails in Moab, Utah. I am an avid four-wheeler, and we ARE stewards of the LAND. We care about the environment. We are legitimate responsible recreationists and should be recognized as such.
> I can agree with the halt in the new commercial enterprise/development, oil and gas exploration, and road building, but you make yourself out to be an elitist when you exclude 4-wheel drive recreation from the list of "non-consumptive" recreationists.
> How are motorized/mechanized vehicles "consumptive" in the red rock desert or anywhere else for that matter?
> Respectfully,

Contact Senator Durbin:
Senator Richard J. Durbin

mr4x4 04-25-2007 02:14 PM

Hinchey Introduces Bill To Protect America's Red Rock Wilderness

Bill Enjoys Broad, Bipartisan Support;
Would Safeguard 9.4 Million Acres Of Public Land In Utah

Washington, DC - In an effort to preserve 9.4 million acres of Utah's spectacular red rock country as wilderness, Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) today introduced legislation in the House that would ensure the public land remains in its natural, undeveloped state. Hinchey's bipartisan America's Red Rock Wilderness Act, which was introduced with 123 cosponsors, would protect the land from commercial development, motorized vehicles, road building, as well as oil and gas drilling. Currently, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) owns the 9.4 million acres, but the agency is not prohibited from selling part of the land for development or developing parts itself.

"This bill would protect a natural treasure by designating a portion of Utahs spectacular red rock country as permanent wilderness," said Hinchey, who sits on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and the House Natural Resources Committee. "These 9.4 million acres largely look the way they did millions of years ago -- no roads, no buildings, and no oil rigs -- and I intend to keep them that way. With so much development and sprawl all across our country, it is important that we preserve part of our country in its natural state so that this and future generations can enjoy some of the most splendid natural beauty that our country has to offer."

The publicly owned wild places of Utah are world-renowned for their spectacular beauty, with deep, narrow red rock canyons, fantastic sandstone arches, tremendous open vistas, and wild rivers. Currently, less than one-half of one percent (0.005) of Utahs BLM public lands are protected as wilderness. Nowhere else in the lower 48 states can such intact wilderness-quality lands be found. These areas are a haven for outdoor recreationists, backpackers, hikers, wildlife enthusiasts, and many more. The red rock area is also rich with archeological remnants of prehistoric cultures.

Hinchey's bill and the original version introduced by former Utah Congressman Wayne Owens in 1989 are based on an extensive survey conducted by volunteers from the Utah Wilderness Coalition (UWC). This public inventory, called the UWC Citizens Proposal, found that the BLM had overlooked or ignored vast areas of wild country in the agencys original inventory. As additional inventory work has been conducted for the Citizens Proposal, the Americas Red Rock Wilderness Act has been updated to reflect the latest findings. The new version of the bill proposes protections for roughly 9.4 million acres of BLM public land in Utah; this acreage adjusts for the unusual designation of a wilderness area last year, but also for the loss of some wild lands to oil and gas drilling.

The America's Red Rock Wilderness Act would ensure the 9.4 million acres in Utah remain wild in their natural state, and strictly prohibit mining, road and dam construction, off-road vehicle use, and other activities that would destroy the area's special character. Non-consumptive uses such as hunting, fishing, camping, backpacking, hiking, and horseback riding would be permitted and grazing rights existing at the time of any wilderness designation would also be unaffected.

"Given the choice of opening these precious acres of red rock for more oil and gas drilling or preserving them in their natural state for all Americans to enjoy with recreational activities, I am extremely confident that the public would overwhelmingly choose to protect the land," Hinchey said. "Production hasn't even begun on millions of beautiful acres in Utah that the federal government has leased to energy companies for oil and gas development, which is why it makes no sense to give away millions more. Energy companies are gobbling up leases in red rock country right now while they have an oil friendly administration in the White House. We're going to do everything we can to stop this free-for-all lease sale before it's too late and ensure that this beautiful land is safeguarded."
Hinchey has introduced the America's Red Rock Wilderness Act for the past 12 years. U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) plans to introduce an identical version of the bill in the Senate tomorrow.

The measure is endorsed by the Sierra Club, the Wilderness Society, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance in Utah, and more than 240 local and national conservation groups with the Utah Wilderness Coalition.

mr4x4 04-25-2007 02:16 PM




Greetings BRC members, supporters and Action Alert Subscribers,

The Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) Moab and Monticello Field Offices are preparing new Resource Management Plans and new Travel Management Plans. There isn't an activity occurring in these two field offices that won't be affected by these new plans.

BLM began this process back in 2003. During 2003 and 2004 the Moab BLM held meetings and received public comment on various planning issues.

Since that time the BLM has been working to formulate a range of management alternatives, each with a different theme or emphasis. BLM is set to release a Draft Resource Management Plan, Draft Comprehensive Travel Management Plan and the related Draft Environmental Impact Statement(s) (Draft EIS) in the summer of 2007.

The Moab BLM has given the public a 'sneak peak' at their proposed management alternatives. The information is available on the web at: BLM Utah - Moab Resource Management Plan BRC has reviewed the information and posted a brief analysis on our website. Just go to www.sharetrails.organd click the "Moab Update" button on the right.

Moab BLM is proposing drastic changes from traditional public land management!

BLM is proposing huge changes from what is currently allowed. Much of the proposed management is decidedly "Park-like." While some of the changes are needed, and BRC will be supporting the BLM on many of these, others are arbitrary and unnecessary.

Beginning sometime this summer, the BLM will move to a critically important stage in the process: the release of the Draft Plans and Draft EIS. There will be a limited public review and comment period in which all of the various stakeholder groups as well as the general public can submit comments and suggestions to the BLM.

Anti recreation groups such as the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) have staff to review the environmental analysis to find flaws that will nudge the final decision their way. Indeed, many stakeholders are paying for professional review of these documents in order to protect their interests. The OHV community must do this as well.

As always, funds for such an effort are limited. In order to raise funds for this important effort, BRC is initiating the "Moab Partnership" program.

Partners make a pledge of $10.00 per month or make a one-time Partnership donation of $120.00 to enroll for one year. Your donation is placed in a restricted account to be used for efforts related to the BLM's Moab and Monticello Field Office planning processes.

BRC's Moab Partners will receive the Moab Update, a special quarterly newsletter dedicated to the latest news on BLM's planning process. The Moab Update will keep you informed about how your donation is being used and is the best way to keep informed about potential changes in the Moab area. In addition, BRC's Moab Partners receive a limited edition "Moab Partner" T-Shirt and sticker combo. Check the details on BRC's Moab Partnership page: Welcome to the BlueRibbon Coalition Public Lands Articles Page

Why is this so important?

Let me explain it this way; future recreational uses in the Moab area will depend on how the Final Resource Management Plan and Travel Plan are written. That's because these agency plans are open to interpretation and revision via appeal and litigation.

The best example I can give on this is the way BLM's preliminary alternatives are currently written. In the Bookcliffs Special Recreation Management Area (see Appendix F ) the Moab BLM has the management proscription as "primitive" in the administrative setting (no motorized and no mountain bikes allowed). But the travel plan shows roads and trails in the area and BLM admits some mountain bike trails may exist there. Which will hold sway when SUWA or some other radical group marches in to federal court to close a road? The answer depends on the way the document is written!

We are going to need a full team of legal professionals, NEPA experts and even biologists if we are going to stop the unfair and arbitrary closures. That will require a commitment from the very people who enjoy this wonderful area. This is why joining our Moab Partnership is so important.

I want to thank you in advance for your help. Together, we can keep this spectacular recreation destination open.

Brian Hawthorne
BlueRibbon Coalition
208-237-1008 ext 102

More info on the web:
BRC'S MOAB UPDATE PAGE Welcome to the BlueRibbon Coalition Public Lands Articles Page

Welcome to the BlueRibbon Coalition Public Lands Articles Page

BLM Utah - Moab Resource Management Plan

1BLKJP 04-25-2007 04:53 PM

I'm definitely going to stay up on this one and I have already sent a letter out on it. The town of Moab would have a hard time surviving without the Easter Jeep Safari and all of the tourism that 4x4 brings into that town.

Maybe Moab Man can shed some light on this one, but I believe there is some Technical Glitches in the plan there because most of the trails around Moab have been designated as County Roads which saves them from the gov't. I'm not 100% up to date on what's all going on in Utah however.

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