US Rep Requests Block OHVs on 9 Million Acres

November 12, 2009
Courtesy of the American Motorcyclist Association

The 2009 BMW F800GS overlooks one of the many expanses of south eastern Utahs desolate terrain.
Rep. Maurice Hinchey is looking to bypass normal procedures to get 9.4 million acres blocked off to OHVs. The AMA is calling on all motorcyclists and OHV enthusiasts to help stop H.R. 1925.

The U.S. representative from New York who is sponsoring U.S. House bill H.R. 1925, which would close 9.4 million acres to off-highway vehicle (OHV) riding in Utah, has sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar requesting the secretary use his administrative powers to close those lands, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.
Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.), along with 88 other U.S. representatives who joined Hinchey in sending the letter, is asking for the administrative action while the House debates H.R. 1925, also called America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act of 2009.

Not a single representative from Utah supports H.R. 1925, which would designate 9.4 million acres managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management as Wilderness.

Once land is designated as Wilderness, no vehicles, including motorcycles, ATVs or bicycles, are allowed on that land. Horseback riding also would be limited.

“It is outrageous that Rep. Hinchey would attempt to bypass congressional procedures to put into motion the intentions of a bill that lacks the support of even one representative from the state that bill would impact,” said Ed Moreland, AMA vice president for government relations. “This attempt is even more shocking in the sense that much of the land in question does not even meet the definition of Wilderness included in federal law. According to the Wilderness Act of 1964, Wilderness can only apply to lands ‘retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation.'”

Included in the 9.4 million acres that the representative from New York wants to close forever to Utah’s OHV community are existing OHV riding areas around Moab, the San Rafael Swell and Chimney Rock. These popular OHV areas represent some of the most important remaining OHV recreation areas in Utah, and are some of the most popular with responsible OHV riders. The targeted areas also include existing roads and developments.

H.R. 1925 would be particularly harmful coming on the heels of the recently enacted Omnibus Public Land Management Act, which closed more than 2 million acres of public lands. This vast Wilderness bill would take away additional recreation opportunities that stimulate the local economies and are currently enjoyed by local residents and visitors alike.

The AMA is calling on all motorcyclists and OHV enthusiasts to help stop H.R. 1925. The fastest way to reach your U.S. representative is a telephone call. You can find contact information for your elected officials by entering your zip code at AmericanMotorcyclist.com > Rights > Issues and Legislation. A pre-written e-mail is also available to send to your representative by following the “Take Action” option after entering your information at the above website.

To see the Utah delegation and Ranking Member Doc Hastings speak out against H.R. 1925, click here:  republicans.resourcescommittee.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=147628

The Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources held a hearing on Oct. 1 to consider H.R. 1925. To view a video recording of that hearing, click here:  resourcescommittee.house.gov/index.php?option=com_jcalpro&Itemid=27&extmode=view&extid=292

To read the AMA’s press release on the subcommittee hearing, click here:  www.americanmotorcyclist.com/news/story.asp?id=1375