Wild Lands Designation Threatens OHV Access

January 26, 2011
Courtesy of the American Motorcycle Association

2008 Kauai Adventure- Kawasaki KLX250S

On Dec. 22, 2010, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar signed Secretarial Order 3310 creating a new land-use designation called “Wild Lands” that essentially allows officials in the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to manage public land as if it had received a “Wilderness” land-use designation from Congress, but without requiring congressional approval. This new policy may restrict responsible off-highway riding in the affected areas.

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 American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) supports appropriate Wilderness designations that meet the criteria established by Congress in 1964, but anti-access advocates have been abusing the legislative process to ban responsible off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreation on public land.

This new “Wild Lands” policy comes on the heels of a victory when U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) dropped his effort, on Dec. 21, 2010, to pass a massive omnibus public lands bill that would have inappropriately designated millions of acres of public land as Wilderness. The very next day Salazar signed Secretarial Order 3310 and the same day the 111th Congress adjourned sine die. On Dec. 23, 2010, Salazar held a press conference in Colorado announcing the new “Wild Lands” policy.

With the new “Wild Lands” policy, anti-access advocates and the administration are now seeking an end-run around Congress. Salazar’s order has far-reaching implications because the BLM manages about 245 million acres of public land nationwide, primarily in western states.

Federal lawmakers quickly called the “Wild Lands” policy a “land grab” and a blatant attempt to usurp congressional authority. The AMA sent a letter, dated Jan.11, 2011, to Salazar asking him to explain whether the new “Wild Lands” land-use designation will block traditional routes of travel for off-highway riding. To view the letter, click here. And to view the AMA’s press release, click here.

The AMA needs all its members and OHV enthusiasts to call their Senators and Representative today. To call, click here. Or, you can follow the “Take Action” option to send a pre-written e-mail directly to your Senators and Representative urging them to oppose any usurpation of congressional authority with regards to public land designations.

Call and send a pre-written e-mail to your Senators and Representative now and let them know you oppose any usurpation of congressional authority.

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