The American Motorcyclist Association strongly encourages everyone who enjoys recreating in the Atwell Gulch, Juanita Arch, Mt. Garfield and Palisade areas managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management Grand Junction Field Office to attend a public meeting in Fruita, Colo. on February 7, and provide comments to the Draft Resource Management Plan.

If you want to help protect the off-highway trails that you, your family and your friends enjoy, you can’t afford to miss this meeting. The BLM needs to know how important the GJFO recreation area is to the off-highway vehicle (OHV) community and this meeting provides a great opportunity to learn and comment on the RMP.

The current proposed draft plan by the BLM prohibits access to OHV use, citing that the areas have “wilderness characteristics” – a de facto Wilderness designation, and the need to reduce “particulate matter” – or Farm Dust.

With the use of wilderness characteristics, the RMP resurrects the controversial Wild Lands policy killed by Congress in April of 2011. The guidance manuals cited in the RMP include language directly lifted from Interior Secretarial Order 3310 and its supporting documents.

A Wilderness designation is one of the strictest forms of public land management. Once Congress designates an area as Wilderness, nearly all forms of non-pedestrian recreation are illegal. The AMA supports appropriate Wilderness designations that meet the criteria established by Congress in 1964, but anti-access advocates have been using the administrative and legislative process to ban responsible OHV recreation on public land.

If the Wild Lands policy reemerges, anti-OHV advocates and the administration are once again succeeding in an end-run around Congress. This management plan has far-reaching implications because the BLM manages about 245 million acres of public land nationwide, primarily in western states.

This recent action by the BLM is another reason that the riding community must remain vigilant in protecting responsible access to our public land. The AMA encourages the OHV community to get involved and to participate at the February 7 meeting in Fruita, Colo.

Meeting Info:

Thursday, February 7, 2013, 4:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Fruita Civic Center
325 East Aspen Avenue
Fruita, CO 81521

In addition to the areas identified with wilderness characteristics, the BLM GJFO’s RMP creates a new way to prohibit OHV use on the entire 1.1 million acres of the surface planning area. The preferred alternative will allow the BLM to “temporarily close off-highway vehicle (OHV) open areas and designated routes as needed during wind events to reduce particulate matter.” In other words, the BLM solely blames the use of OHVs for disturbing farm dust!

To send comments now, a prewritten e-mail is available for you to send to the BLM by following the “Take Action” option and entering your information.

Please provide your comments today and attend the meeting in Fruita, Colo. Be sure to urge the federal BLM to keep every user of the forest in mind when drafting the final Grand Junction Field Office Resource Management Plan.

Image courtesy American Motorcyclist Association

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