*********OUR CAUSE NEEDS HELP!!!!!!!! *******
Posted June 23, 2003 - 04:21 PM
WE ALL COMPLAIN ABOUT THEY ENVIRONMENTALISTS CLOSING DOWN OUR RIDING AREAS. HERE IS YOUR CHANCE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!
The enviros are trying to close his favorite riding area. He has written several letters and gathered information for you all to use to print off letters. You then sign the letter and send it off to the BLM planning commity to voice OUR OPINIONS. The enviros (GREEDY suwa tards) are rallying and trying to get all of thier people to send letters too. WE NEED TO BEAT THEM!!!!!!!!!!! Give Steve a shout and help out our cause! He will be extremely grateful for your help and so will I. Thanks a bunch! I am going to make more threads in other forums to try to help this cause out.
Posted June 23, 2003 - 05:15 PM
Posted June 23, 2003 - 05:26 PM
I just sent him an e-mail. As soon as I get the info, you can bet I'll get involved. After a long hiatus from riding, I'm not about to let some granola-head stop anybody from enjoying their constitutional right to have fun! Well, at least I'm not goin' down without a fight...
Thanks for making us aware of this issue.
Posted June 23, 2003 - 05:40 PM
Posted June 23, 2003 - 05:52 PM
BLM Arizona Strip Planning Comment information as promised:
I know time is a problem for all of us and I don’t choose to waste yours. I suggest you print the e-mails and read them from paper. That will position you better to skip sections you may not have time for and focus your efforts.
Many thanks to all those who have responded to my request and have offered to make their own comments and get others to do the same. It was reported to me that for the first comment period our side only had five comments sent it. Pretty pathetic when I know that three of those were from the guys I ride with. It is no wonder our side always gets the short end of the trail. We are going to make a much better showing this time thanks to good people like yourself that are getting tired of the “closed” signs. Please forward this material, plead, beg, and brow beat anybody and everybody that you can to send something in this time. Husbands and wives should each send different comments in separate envelopes.
I have received requests asking for detailed information on the issues and specifics to just simple form letters that can be copied, filled in and signed. This is a lot of work and time on my part so I’m attempting to put it all in one package that you can pick and choose from. If you are willing to read the detail information and draft your own please do so, and then copy some of the letters for your friends that won’t go to that much effort. Form letters don’t carry as much weight as personally written comments. Do what you can to put them on a different letterhead, cut/paste, rearrange the paragraphs, and add a comment or whatever. Just please do all that you can, it will make a difference.
I’ll try and keep the detail sections as small a possible but several have asked for considerable detail and I hope to cover their requests also. Some e-mails systems have size limitations so I’ll be sending some of the exhibits/maps and form letters in separate e-mails and will identify the content in the subject line. If you have problems printing anything e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll either copy into an e-email or mail you a hard copy.
Please create your own letters from the detail sections, or cut/paste from the sample letters. Do all that you can to make them look different. Getting started writing a letter is the hard part, once you get going it is easy. Just start typing and remember that your English teacher isn’t going to grade it. Please use some simple form letters and get others to sign them and then make sure they get mailed. In the sample letter e-mail each letter is included 2 times. The “a” version is one that you can just have people sign, in the other version replace the date and name with your own. Create your own form letter and use that for your friends.
We all spend thousands on our sport and a lot of time enjoying it. Do us all a favor and take just one hour to ensure that we have places to ride in the future.
Thanks so much. I’m going to go in and review all the comments this time, and I’ll be looking for yours.
Address comments to:
Diana Hawks, Planning Coordinator
Arizona Strip Planning Effort
345 East Riverside Drive
St. George, UT 84790
Phone 435-688-3266, E-mail Arizona_Strip@blm.gov
(e-mail comments are ok but hardcopy mailed is much better)
Comments are due by 7/7/03
(you have time, but don’t put it off and forget)
Add a line requesting that you be put on their mailing list for this issue and include your e-mail address if you would like.
It is a good idea to request that your comment become part of the public record on the issue. This can be at the beginning or end of your comments.
Your name and address must be on the letter. On the top or bottom.
If you want your name and address withheld from public view then request it.
It is highly recommend that you comment on one or more of the general issues as well as one or more specific trails, locations or areas. Suggestions for both types and included below.
If you belong to a club or organization please have them send in a comment as a club on club letterhead. Also have them forward these e-mails to the membership.
They have web sites at http://www.az.blm.gov/fr_lup.htm or www.nps.gov/para
The BLM prints an excellent map of the area titled “Arizona Strip Field Office Visitor Map” for 6.00. It is a great map. If your local office doesn’t have one and you would like one e-mail me and we will work it out.
General background information:
(Print the “noaction.jpg” in the “Plan maps” e-mail for reference to the following if you can)
The “Arizona Strip” is all the land south of the Utah border to the Colorado River north to south (110 miles). It runs from the Nevada state line on the west to the Page Az. area at Lake Powell on the east (150 miles). I have not seen what the total area is but knowing that the one Monument is one million acres I’m guessing the total to be about 5-6 million acres. The Grand Canyon Nat. Park, which is in the above-described area, is not included in this planning process.
With the exception a few highways along the Utah border the only access is from the Utah side by dirt/gravel roads. Most of them are impassible even by 4x4 if they get very wet. In short this is a huge rugged backcountry area that could be really great for OHV use. But with the current trend and unless we win some of these battles any good vehicle will get you to the remaining trailheads and you can start hiking from there.
This area was used mostly by the cattle ranchers, very few hunters and a few local OHV (mostly quads) in the past. Very little use for the most part as only the locals had a clue what was out there. There was very little damage being done by user created trails or off road travel. The country is too rough for that in the first place. There are just too many trails and roads that were created by a bulldozer sometime in the past either for mining or ranching to fight trying to make your own. You would only find frustration trying to make your own trails in the scenic areas.
So use and interest were low. Along came Clinton and Babbitt and in the name of “protecting the area” they created two large National Monuments. These are the Grand Canyon – Parashant and Vermillion Cliffs National Monuments. The G.C. – Parashant is just over 1 million acres. With the news, hype, maps, publicity, and fights over land access issues we now have a new world that needs to be “managed and planned.” If the real concern of Clinton and Babbitt had been protection, the best plan would have been to keep it quite. Now we have wheelers by the dozens riding trails that had almost disappeared, Park Rangers writing tickets, signs of all kinds everywhere, touring cars and motor homes driving into country that is anything but suited for such. People drive out there in their motor homes looking for the “Monument.” One of the old cowboys told me he is so tried of it that he is going to go out in the flat and pile up some rocks so he has a “monument” to point at and say “there it is.”
This is rugged country and is very unlike other Nat. Monuments that people are acquainted with. This one is huge beyond anything they expect. It is very unfriendly in terms of weather and road conditions, only has access from one direction and has virtually no services. Cell phones quit working about 10 miles south of St. George leaving 1000’s of miles of dirt/sand roads to get lost on, break down on, or get stuck on. Roads that nobody may travel for months at a time.
So of course now that the secret is out and usage is going through the roof, the big fight is on with everybody trying to protect his or her own interests, as well as protect the land from the sudden increase in use.
The area of the Planning Process involves several types of management areas. (see noaction.jpg) We have regular BLM ground, wilderness areas, wilderness study areas, two new National Monuments and the Lake Mead Nat. Recreation Area. Those all come with their own set of rules, history, management plans and so on. This planning process is attempting to bring that all together.
The BLM as drafted five suggested, “Alternative Plans,” A, B, C, D and No Action. In another e-mail with subject “Plan Maps” I have sent A, D and No Action maps. Take note of the land already Wilderness in the No Action and compare that to the A option. Pretty scary when you realize that all the scenic areas could become Wilderness. Even the next to lowest plan D shows the prime Lake Mead Rec. Area as wilderness. Most of the scenic areas that we are interested in having access to are inside the Lake Mead Recreation Area. If we lose this then the whole area comes off my list of places to ride.
Specific issues that can be commented on:
What is important to you?:
In your comments it is very important to tell them how you use Public Land (ATVs) and why. You have to assume that you are talking to people that do not know or enjoy this type of travel the way you do. Give them your feeling and the reasons. If you are too old or otherwise unable to hike long distances tell them so and go into some detail. Let them know that you need outdoor, fresh air motorized access beyond full sized vehicles.
Motorized access to scenic areas:
Because of the size and rugged nature of this country without motorized access to the scenic spots there is no effective access for any type of user. Even the backpackers will not be able to reach the most scenic areas. With the existing roads and trails left open for OHV and mountain bike type access the hikers and backpackers will still have more wilderness and solitude than they will ever use. Even at that there will be areas that nobody will visit. The backpackers are going to need all existing roads to get near enough to the real backcountry to even access it.
Street legal requirements:
As stated above the best areas are in the Lake Mead Recreation Area. That means Nat. Park Service rules, and that means “street legal” vehicles only. So you can drive your eighteen-wheeler, motor home, hummer, truck with 5th wheel, or street legal dirt bike on any road you may choose, but leave your quad home because it isn’t welcome in the Rec. Area at all. The kicker is that most of the roads in this part of the Rec. Area are only suited for good jeeps, quads or dirt bikes. Only a fool would do otherwise. The Park rules for street legal were created for other types of management areas and probably make good sense. A quad does not mix well with regular vehicle traffic.
Arizona statute requires “street legal” on county roads. Most of the main access roads into these Strip areas are county roads passing through BLM land. We are only talking about roads outside the Lake Mead Rec. Area now. This chops up the riding area a bit so you can’t legally ride from one area to another. The BLM allows quads on BLM roads and trails but the majority of them will intersect with a county road sooner or later.
It just so happens that Arizona offers a class of quad/ATV registration that is “street legal.” You have to add horn, brake light and stuff like that but you can get around this if you live in Arizona and opt for the higher class of registration. Most of the people wanting to ride the area live in Utah and Nevada or other states that don’t offer street legal. Once word gets out that the rangers are issuing $450.00 tickets to quads that are 50 miles from the nearest street sign, but otherwise on a legal road or trail quad usage will end. One solution would be to get all states to offer street legal. Good luck.
This is a major problem for this planning process to ever be fair to quads. We are butting heads with a National policy by the Park Service and Arizona State laws. No one is sure what the answer is other than to say “sorry” to the quads unless you live in Arizona. It isn’t fair and should be resolved.
The Strip already contains over 300,000 acres of Wilderness. Future plans for the area should not create more Wildernesses that will restrict access to the scenic beauty of the area. Most of the area inside the Lake Mead Recreation Area is already so rugged and inaccessible that it is “Wilderness” by nature. The few roads that are in this area should be left open so people other than those with long range hiking abilities can see and appreciate the “Wilderness Character” of this area. Leaving the exiting roads open does not detract from the wilderness quality of this area. They are so far apart and so few that once scarcely notices them and access to these areas by even the strongest hiker is only possible by utilization of these existing roads.
The Grand Canyon Nat. Park borders the river all through this area clear to Lake Mead. This provides wilderness type protection for the most rugged area. There is no need to provide more wilderness area inside the Lake Mead Rec. Area or any of the BLM areas on the Strip. Mother nature made this wilderness and man hasn’t or will not be making any more roads into it than he already has. We need what little access there is at present.
Loop routes for OHV use:
Valid recreational management concepts should provide for “loop routes” for OHV use. All of the alternatives seem to be lacking in providing this. There are some BLM routes that “loop” but about all you are going to see is cedar trees. This business of offering the OHV users access to maintained dirt roads to share with the motor homes and claim that they have provided for us has to stop.
Socio-economic value of OHV recreation:
None of the proposed alternatives properly address this issue.
Share and share alike:
I heard three different BLM people mention to ranchers that they would probably close some areas to the public but allow the rancher continued access. If we are talking anything over a one half mile then we should take real issue with this. I’m all for the rancher retaining his access, but fail to see where his access has greater value than ours.
In reading the descriptions of their five alternatives the words “OHV” and “ATV” do not appear even once. Alternatives A and B both mention closing roads. As I remember they are attempting to close 70% of the roads in the Grand Staircase Monument. I hope that is not what we end up with here. They mention, “motorized travel,” but I’m not sure we are really getting fair consideration. There is mention of more primitive recreational uses, “such as hiking and equestrian use.”
There is a footnote to all the alternatives that reads “New road construction or reroutes could occur under any of the alternatives to allow for valid uses and access or to improve resource conditions.” What I fear and feel coming is that some of the road/trails that are now ATV/Jeep trails may get improved into good roads. That is fine but without constructing new ATV trails that leaves us with nothing that we can’t just unhitch the ATV trailer and drive the truck. I don’t see any plans for the ATV users. Everybody else seems to have some consideration and they should have.
One thing to keep in mind here is that Park Service personnel are managing the Monuments. Our National Parks are not exactly friendly to OHV/ATV users. This type of motorized travel just doesn’t happen in National Parks as a rule, so they have little history and experience in dealing with and providing for our class of user. I would feel much better if the old BLM and Forest Service people were more in charge. I can assure you that the ranchers would express the same feelings. Park Service people do not have a great deal of experience with cattle as we found out on the Grand Staircase.
Specific trails/roads and locations that can be commented on:
This is currently the only motorized access to the actual river that created all this scenic beauty. That alone should be reason enough to keep this open to motorized use. There are many people who are physically unable to hike or ride an OHV that need this route to fully appreciate what the Strip is all about. Someone (I was told a rancher did it) recently graded this route and fixed a couple rough spots. It is suitable for any good 4x4 at this time. A year ago it was an ATV/Jeep route only.
The cactus and other plant life mixed in with the lava rock in the lower end near the trailhead is unique and very photo worthy.
The trail to the river at the end of Whitmore Wash is also the only access to the river itself without long difficult backcountry hikes that would require over night stays in most cases. The view both up and down the canyon from this spot is well worth the trip. Motorized access needs to be maintained right to the trailhead on this route that has been in use for decades. The last 8.5 miles are in the Rec. Area and street legal is required.
This is one of the very few high viewpoints in the eastern part of the Monument and OHV access should be maintained. From this point you can see a great deal of the drainage system and canyons in the area for miles in three directions. To the west you can look down into the rugged Parashant Canyon from which the Monument got it’s name and to the east you are looking down into beautiful Whitmore Wash. South you are looking across the river and you can see both the inner and outer canyon gorge levels. Unfortunately the actual river cannot be seen from this vantage point but it is high enough that the vast rugged area as a whole can be appreciated. Access is by Jeep/ATV trails that have been there for many years and are established routes that should be left open. The last 6 miles are in the Rec. Area and street legal is required.
High Viewpoint east of Whitmore Wash:
This is the ONLY high view in the whole Monument where a person can see down into the river itself and appreciate the rugged erosion that has taken place in the area. This point is the start of the inner canyon with a view almost 3,000 feet down into the inner gorge. At the same time you can look across the river and both up and down stream and see the upper or outer gorge that is part of the whole Grand Canyon area. The perspective you get from this point is like no other in the Monument.
In the expectation that the final plan for the Monument will provide some routes of value for the ATV users this is a very logical consideration. Access to the point is by 4 miles of jeep/ATV trail east through the Paws Pocket area above the Whitmore Wash road and 3 miles of ATV trail. This is a long established route used by the ranchers and recreation users for years. The last 3 miles of this route was recently closed but should be reopened as part of the final plan. One of the BLM people actually suggested that we mention this in the comments.
This is one of those spots that takes your breath away, really makes you appreciate the area and makes you want to bring others back to enjoy it. Without motorized access to this point the vast majority of the people visiting the Monument will never get to enjoy this wonderful view of nature at its best. This is the view that helps put the whole picture together. I didn’t know if I should cry, scream or cuss when we found this route closed this spring. A total of 9 miles of this route will require street legal.
Frog Springs road:
This is an old road that goes west from Whitmore Wash around and below Whitmore Point to Frog Springs. This excellent ATV route takes the traveler deep into country that has no other access, and is far beyond the range of most hikers. It goes to an old water source for wildlife and livestock. Frog Springs is in the lower end of Parashant Canyon which is cutting deep at this point as it nears the Colorado River. This is one of those existing roads that should remain open to ATV use. This route requires 15 miles of travel inside the street legal area.
Parashant Canyon, around Andrus Canyon to Mollies Nipple road:
This one is a very unique old road, and now mostly just an ATV trail. It is really going to hurt when we lose all or part of it. From where they have posted a sign “4x4 required” (it used to say “ATV required” before the Park Service changed it) you can travel 38 miles into rugged backcountry. The old road continues a few miles beyond the 38 miles where they have placed “no motorized” sign because it enters the Grand Canyon Nat. Park. The scenic views are just fantastic on the lower end of this road. At the end of the road you are miles and miles from any other dirt road, about 100 miles from the nearest oiled road, and this road is the only way anyone will ever get close to this area. I’m willing to bet that is the most distance you can get from an oiled road by ATV in the lower 48. There is a huge wilderness type area beyond the end of this road that the hikers and backpackers can use. But without this road nobody will ever get here again. Walking into this country would require an 80-mile hike, packing enough water for several days. The area is surrounded on three sides by cliffs 100’s of feet high blocking access other than by this one road.
I’m sure they are not going to keep this road open all the way to the Grand Canyon. This is one road that we should really press them on and save all of it that we can. It is going to be a heart breaker to have them cut even the last 3 miles off. This is one route that anyone that can get street legal should ride in the next year and a half. Get street legal and let me know and you can ride with us. Of the 38 miles 32 require street legal. Yea, 32 miles of rough ATV road and you have to be street legal.
Posted June 24, 2003 - 06:39 AM
Posted June 24, 2003 - 07:10 PM
I have emailed Steve for more information and i'll do what I can to help.
Thanks! I sure wish more people from these boards were willing to help Steve out. Maybe they would understand if THIER riding areas were closed.