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Old May 28th, 2003, 10:27
co_big_cheese co_big_cheese is offline
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: Grand Junction, CO
Posts: 37
Angry Moab Trail Closures

Judge backs BLM, rules against off-roaders in S. Utah
Associated Press
May. 25, 2003 12:00 AM

SALT LAKE CITY - A federal judge ruled 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 had the power to prevent or reduce environmental damage.

Jenkins on Wednesday threw out a lawsuit from the Utah Shared Access Alliance that said the BLM acted in 2001 without taking public comment or holding hearings.

The alliance challenged restrictions on popular motor trails, off-road travel, bicycling and dispersed camping in areas near Moab and Canyonlands National Park. The off-limits areas include Factory Butte, Poison Spider Mesa, Gemini Bridges Trail.

"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, USA-ALL Director Brian Hawthorne said.

The BLM has issued emergency orders since the 1990s closing hundreds of thousands of acres to vehicles. Vehicles still are allowed on about 90 percent of the 22 million acres of BLM land in Utah.
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Old May 28th, 2003, 12:21
co_big_cheese co_big_cheese is offline
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: Grand Junction, CO
Posts: 37
False Alarm?

Lets hope for the best

Read the following someone forwarded me on the topic:

UPDATE--3pm Tuesday:
False Alarm, news media sent out articles wrong way. I just recieved this email from the Moab Field Manager (I'm glad I got the truth), looks good for now, but we will need input from us when they consider designated areas for regulations.

Here is the email:

Subj: RE: Moab Road Closures?
Date: 5/27/03 2:07:15 PM Mountain Daylight Time
Sent from the Internet (Details)

Dear Bill,

As you may have guessed by now, there are many errors in the news coverage
on this subject. USA-All was apparently very effective in getting their
spin on the news early and often.

In January of 2001, the Moab Field Office published a Federal Register
Notice changing the designation on 250,000 acres of public land from "open
to cross country travel" to "limited to existing roads and trails". This
was done under an emergency process and completely legal; however, the BLM
was sued by USA-All for restricting travel, and by the Southern Utah
Wilderness Alliance for not restricting travel enough. The Federal
Register Notice also restricted camping in certain heavily used areas right
around Moab. These actions were taken in response to severe resource
degradation and in anticipation that as we begin to revise our land use
plan, we will be considering appropriate designations with full public

As a result of the judge dismissing the lawsuit, the media has played the
situation up as though it just happened, and has erroneously characterized
it as "a closure", "elimination of all camping", and various other
sensational but untrue scenarios. The popular trails mentioned in some
articles (Gemini Bridges and Poison Spider Mesa) are located within the
areas where cross country travel was eliminated, but BLM has no intention
of closing these trails. We are just trying to get recreationists to stay
on the trails.

Thank you for asking questions and I hope you will spread the truth.

Maggie Wyatt
Moab Field Manager
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Old May 29th, 2003, 18:56
Ed A. Stevens's Avatar
Ed A. Stevens Ed A. Stevens is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Desert Beach So Cal
Posts: 1,108

(UT) USA-ALL challenge of BLM’s use of emergency orders (& SUWA Lawsuit)

for another more truthfull accounting of the judgement action and actual results.

I know it does not have the title draw of "Moab Trail Closures" but it provides the facts (maybe it will get more hits now).
is more than quality web forums and organized events, support the collective XJ/MJ voice and join the club.

Happy Trails!
Ed A. Stevens
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