If that title doesn't get your attention, I don't know what will. Is the BLM going to close all of our riding areas? I don't think so nor do I read this document as wanting to do that, but each of us will have differing opinions. I do think this plan is more restrictive than what we currently have and it will be worth as many of us as possible to show up to the meeting and voice our opinions.
If you belong to our Club and subscribe to our emails, you know that the Carson City BLM office will be having a public meeting this Thursday, March 19, 2015 at the Churchill County Commission Chambers in Fallon. The actual meeting runs 6:00 - 8:30 pm, with BLM staff being available before the meeting from 5:00 - 5:45 pm. I plan to arrive for the 5:00 pm informal portion to see what I can learn before the meeting.
During the formal meeting the BLM will give a short presentation reviewing their plan and then open up the floor for comments. If you decide to make a statement you will have up to three minutes to make your point. Don't expect questions to be answered at this time, but this is the opportunity to get your comments on the Public Record.
As I stated in the email, the Resource Management Plan (RMP) is a very large document of over 2,000 pages. The BLM is required to update this document every so often and notify the public of their proposed changes as well as hear their comments. If you don't have the time to read the entire document, then I would recommend you read the Executive Summary which will provide you an overview of the plan. Go to the Carson City's BLM website here: http://goo.gl/aYMgf and click on Documents and Reports along the left. There you can find the RMP
As I stated in the email, the plan covers many areas, including our mechanized access to these lands. That's all I am going to speak to here, which is just a small portion of the entire plan.
Figure 1 below shows the part of the plan that deals with ATVs/UTVs. The plan considered five alternate COAs (Courses of Action) with 'A' being the status quo (i.e. leave it as is), and 'E' being the BLM's proposed action. As you can see there is currently 3,840,300 acres open for motorized use (Alt 'A'). The BLM's proposed action is to have only 55,700 acres open for motorized access! WOW. It is true, they want to close all of our land from riding. Well, not necessarily if you read further. The amount that is currently closed to motorized travel is 6,900 acres and that amount actually drops to 6,200 acres in their proposed plan. Similarly, it's the same for the next category of mechanized travel limited to existing routes. In the last category, which limits travel to existing routes, we currently have 924,300 acreas and this will increase to 4,717,300.
The areas proposed to be closed to motorized and mechanized travel is only 6,200 acres and is similar in size to what it is today. Page 2-178 of the plan provides the details on this.
The areas closed to motorized travel is currently 31,800 acres and will reduce to 24,100 acres in the proposed plan. Pages 2-176 to 2-178 of the plan provides the details on this.
The areas Limited to Existing Routes for motorized and mechanized travel changes from 924,300 acres to a whopping 4,717,300 acres. Page 2-180 of the plan discusses this but provides little detail other than referring you to the Plan's Figure 2-66, shown below as my Figure 2 (click to view the map at a larger size).
So the big change that this Plan proposes is that instead of almost the entire area being open to motorized and mechanized travel, travel would now be limited to existing routes. Is that going to be a problem for us? Well, part of the answer is dependent on the answer to the question: "What constitutes an existing route?" On page 2-180 of the Plan it says "Manage the 4,717,300 acres as limited to existing routes, primitive roads, and trails for OHV and other motorized use until subsequent route designation occurs Figure 2-66)."
The question/comment that I plan to voice at the meeting is when and how will the route designation occur and who will decide? Will the public have a say in the matter? Is anything that is a trail, road, etc. now going to remain open in the future for motorized travel?
As it stands now and based on what is in the plan, the riding areas we have and enjoy today will remain open under this new plan. We need to remain vigilant and keep engaged and take an active participation when route designation occurs; and make sure our interests are considered.
Our Club is a great bunch of people and we love our riding. Keeping to existing roads and trails isn't going to be a problem for any of us, and it's what we should do even if this plan didn't require it. Taking ownership and care of our lands and keeping them open for all to enjoy is a small price to pay. We are very fortunate for the freedom to ride almost anywhere we want in this Great State, let's not lose it!
So what is your opinion of my very simple summary of the BLM Plan?
Do you think our riding areas will remain open or is this "their" plan to close them?
Are you going to attend the meeting this Thursday and voice your concerns/opinion?
Like many things, silence is consent, so lack of action and voicing your opinion is telling the BLM and the Government that the Plan must be good because no one voiced any concerns.
See you on Thursday,
If you want to download pages 2-175 to 2-184 that are referenced above, click on this link: Details of Plan
If you want to download Figure 2, shown above, click here: Figure 2.