The AMA urges all concerned riders to contact their federal lawmakers and ask them to oppose the Wild Lands policy because it usurps congressional authority over public land-use designations. To contact your federal lawmakers to oppose the Wild Lands policy, go to http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/rights/issueslegislation.
The AMA is also seeking motorcyclists who can attend the hearing. Interested riders should send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Wild Lands.” Be sure to request a “Stop the Land Grab” decal to display during the hearing.
On Dec. 22, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar signed Secretarial Order 3310 creating the Wild Lands land-use designation that essentially allows officials in the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to manage public land as if it had received a “Wilderness” designation from Congress, but without requiring congressional approval. This new policy is expected to restrict or eliminate responsible off-highway vehicle (OHV) use in the affected areas.
The House Committee on Natural Resources will hold an oversight hearing on March 1 at 10 a.m. in Room 1324 of the Longworth House Office Building in Washington, D.C. The subject of the hearing is: “The Impact of the Administration’s Wild Lands Order on Jobs and Economic Growth.”
“This is a prime example of why Congress must exercise vigorous oversight of the Obama administration,” said Natural Resources Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.). “The Wild Lands policy expressly circumvents Congress’ statutory authority to establish Wilderness 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 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 OHV recreation on public land.
“With the new Wild Lands policy, anti-access advocates and the administration are now seeking an end-run around Congress,” said Ed Moreland, AMA senior vice president for government relations. “Salazar’s order has far-reaching implications because the BLM manages about 245 million acres of public land nationwide, primarily in western states.”
The AMA sent a letter to Salazar on Jan. 11 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.