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BLM Letter Reveals OHV Land Closures

Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Recently revealed documents show that a federal land management agency has been talking about changing land-use designations on public land that could close from 35 million to 140 million acres to off-highway riding, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.
American Motorcyclist Association

In a letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar dated Aug. 9, Ed Moreland, AMA senior vice president for government relations, noted that an internal government document indicates the Interior Department may have "a finely detailed plan to exclude Americans from accessing public lands despite the bureau's assertion that these documents are simply the result of 'brainstorming sessions.'"

Moreland asked Salazar to explain precisely what the language means in the internal memo produced by the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which is part of the Interior Department.

"According to a news report on Aug. 5 from Salt Lake City-based KLS-TV, a recently obtained BLM document outlines how the federal government is seeking to manage federal lands through more restrictive land management practices," Moreland wrote. "The AMA seeks assurances from you that all dispositions of public lands will be publicly debated before new designations are made."

The internal memo states that some 130 million to 140 million acres -- an area roughly the size of Colorado and Wyoming combined -- are under consideration for special land-use designations that could further restrict off-highway riding. This is about half of the 264 million acres of public land managed by the BLM.

At another point in the document, the BLM states that about 35 million acres of the land it manages "should be considered for a new and/or heightened conservation designation."

The BLM memo spells out a proposed plan for public land-use designations that could ban off-highway vehicle riding by supporting certain congressional land-use designation proposals, having the president pull an end run around Congress by unilaterally naming areas as national monuments "should the legislative process not prove fruitful" and to use the agency's internal land-use planning process to accomplish the bureau's goals for managing "conservation values" when those other two efforts fail.

"This memo doesn't read like a draft document," Moreland said. "It reads like a playbook for shutting the public out of land-use decisions."

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unclewill -Also...  August 16, 2010 08:49 AM
...note that the report is marked "draft" - not final. Someone got hold of a draft report and leaked it to the press, then the AMA and OHV manufacturers seized on it to get people excited. Again, these public lands remain open for public use. One can always park the OHV, get off ones butt and walk like humans did for thousands of years before internal combustion engines. At least 99.9% of the land, sea and air in the United States is open to motor vehicle travel of one form or another right now. I personally spend at least an hour a day in a car or on a motorcycle each day just to get to work and back whether I like it or not! How about you?
John in Dakota -Thanks for helping me with my math, Unclewill  August 13, 2010 02:10 PM
So, if 264 - 130 = 134 million acres left open, how much is currently open, BEFORE these proposals are implemented? And, if, as you say, 134 mil. acres are roughly equivalent to the size of Wyoming and Colorado combined, but we don't know how much is currently open (264 mil acres?), then is it possible the difference might be that we could lose the equivalent of a Wyoming and Colorado combined? The point is that you don't seem to care that a great amount of access would be lost, BLM doesn't appear to have quantified it, and once these idealogues get on a roll, how are we to know when they will stop? The current administration is fully stocked with radical environmentalist control-freaks who won't stop until they and their divine buddies are the only ones allowed into the wilderness areas. That is one of the undercurrents of what this memo is all about, and it is just a first move by these people.
Tim B -MikeT - US NAVY, unclewill  August 13, 2010 10:16 AM
MikeT: Get over yourself. You CHOSE to go in the service and fight that war. Don't cry about it now because you actually had to do work and fight! I don't feel one bit sorry for you nor do I respect you because you are asking for a pat on the back. Real military men don't do that.

And if you believe the government is truly looking out for the land you're an idiot. They only look out for themselves which means their source of money and votes.

unclewill: We are so up in arms about this because millions of acres of land have already been taken away from us, the legal and conscious OHV users! The outlaw jerks that don't care aren't punished because they'll still ride where they want.
unclewill -I'm glad...  August 13, 2010 08:48 AM
...someone read the memo before commenting on it. For the math challenged, 264 - 130 = 134. If half of the BLM managed land is proposed to be designated as off limits, it's implied that the other half (which by default is the size of Colorado and Wyoming combined as well) remains open. The AMA and the manufacturers of OHVs want to get people enraged over this supposed closing of public land but the fact is that these are only proposals, not closures and even if all of them happen (not likely) the land remains open for public use - just not by OHVs.
John in Dakota -Al Gore, is that you?  August 13, 2010 05:51 AM
Max? Al? Ohmigod! Okay, since you are so EXTREMELY alarmed about the planet, I think I will completely change my behavior and switch to a total subsistence lifestyle just so you can feel better about the impending environmental doom we all face. Please.

"Such a shame we are as a species" (quoting Max). This is what the more radical enviros would have us believe. That the human population needs to be thinned out in service to the utopian enviro dream. Such a shame to be such a lost, anti-human soul, Max.
max -BLM  August 12, 2010 06:13 PM
Its just a matter of time before we humans destroy the enviroment and the planet we inhabit. The earth is getting more crowded everyday and wide open space is slowly dwindling away. Such a shame we are as a species..

John in Dakota -Reply  August 12, 2010 03:18 PM
MikeT, who's talking about using land any old way they want to? The land, the recreational uses, the resource exploration, is already heavily managed. If you means yahoos should not act like yahoos, I agree. But just because yahoos exist doesn't mean the rest of us shouldn't have the opportunity to use the land responsibly.

UncleWill - I read through the memo and didn't see any section stating that 130 million acres of land would be open to motorized use, just that 130 milliion acres of lands are worthy of consideration as 'treasured lands.' Would you please point out where it states that the 130 million acres are open to motorized use?

I almost fell off my chair when I read the part of the memo stating that "Montana's Northern Prairie" should be consider for "National Monument Designation under the Antiquities Act," because, "unfortunately we are losing our grasslands and northern prairies at alarming rates." That's just an out-and-out lie. I'm not sure how many of you have been up to the northern Montana prairies, but this landscape has been little-changed since the time of the European settlers in the 1880s. What the memo is is really saying is that "We will present to the American public a proposal to 'protect an area of environment,' using reasonable, understated and non-threatening language, when what we are really doing is further restricting, even barring, the American public from using the lands they rightfully own and that have fed and enriched the country for over a century which should satisfy the environmental radicals that haven't just infiltrated, but are employed. by the Obama administration." Folks, basically what's going on here is that Dept. of Interior has directed BLM by (DOI's own internal) memo to execute a strategy for further barring the public from using land and resources that oftentimes aren't even threatened -- like the Northern Montana prairies. I mean seriously, they want to declare 10s of millions of acres of prairie as a National Monument? And they wouldn't give a damn how many farmers or ranchers or oil and gas producers and employees suddenly find themselves unemployed. After all the liberal elites know so much more than rest of us how we should live our lives and use our natural resources. No wonder unemployment is so stubbornly stuck at around 10%. Completely idiotic and unneccessary but not surprising when the inmates start running the asylum.
MikeT -US NAVY  August 12, 2010 02:11 PM
OK, some of you people need a freaking wake up call.

#1: YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO USE PUBLIC LANDS ANY WAY YOU WANT TO! OHV use just like minning and drilling is a PRIVILAGE not a RIGHT. You abuse it you loose it. You never use it, you'll loose it!

#2: It's land management not politics, you tear things up you deserve to get your butt kicked out. Stick to trails, help maintain trails and don't let others screw it up for you. If you see something wrong fix it!

#3: THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS! They care about having land and natural habitat for the future. So see #2 you tear it up you loose your privilage.

#4: ANYONE who thinks they have the right to use public lands anyway they choose with no regard for others or the land itself: Get your butt over to Iraq and Afghan and fight like I did. Oh, and while you're doing that I'm going to take a dump in your living room every day untill you get back because that's basically what a lot of people have been doing to my back yard.
Charles -For UncleWill  August 12, 2010 01:01 PM
The biggest threat to public lands is the public not using public lands. Environmentalist like you, Will, don't use many of the places we OHV riders use. You simply don't go there. All you care about is winning your battle against us, whom you perceive to be the enemy of your cause. In reality, most of your peeps live in the city, and never visit BLM land. Sure, you might go on hikes or backpacking trips to the famous national monument sites, but you'll never visit 99% of the spots you want OHV riders banned from. And guess what the BLM will do with these lands when it realizes nobody visits them anymore? They're going to entertain other ideas for what to do with the land. Use your imagination. An OHV trail and a little bit of CO2 (probably less than what's emitted by the gas-burning automobiles driven by "environmentalists" through Yosemite national park) is nothing compared to the damage that will be done to the BLM land when it gets strip mined and developed. After OHV's are banned, the UncleWills of the world will go after mountain bikers. They already have, in fact. Mountain bikers are banned from all wilderness areas. The reality is, non-use is the biggest enemy threat to public lands.
unclewill -The Memo  August 12, 2010 10:51 AM
Read the memo for yourself here: http://media.bonnint.net/slc/2292/229224/22922412.pdf

The memo states that at least 130 million acres of land - roughly the size of Colorado and Wyoming combined - will be OPEN to motorized vehicle use.
Tim B -unclewill  August 12, 2010 10:49 AM
Will, if you're not being sarcastic you're an idiot. It's retards like you who ruin it for everybody else. Drive your Prius off a cliff! Riding on "public" land in remote areas like the f**king desert doesn't harm anybody!
unclewill -Enviro nazi  August 12, 2010 09:00 AM
I just read that drill rigs run on magic and wishes! It's true, the pads and roads which service them are critical habitat for endangered species and the beauty of their steel superstructures enhance the views across unspoiled landscapes. Boy, I hope one day to live next to a wonderful drill rig...

Just think of all of the riding opportunities available to OHV users if we all opened our yards to riding! We could have a track in every neighborhood. All the tracks could be interconnected. We could wake each morning to the sounds of the neighbors kids doing doughnuts in our flower beds and fall asleep to the subtle scent of the gas powered generator in the RV parked on the patio. True freedom at last!
Nick -You can't complain . . .  August 12, 2010 08:45 AM
If you actually voted for these people. Seriously, who didn't see this coming?
John in Dakota -EPA allowing the inmates to run the asylum  August 11, 2010 10:17 PM
I'm nvolved in the Oil and Gas industry out west, and the BLM has suspended leases for drilling minerals out here on the prairies so that they can "study the effects of drilling for oil and gas on global warming." Not producing it, or consuming it, but the act of DRILLING for it. Despite the fact that drilling emits far less than actually burning hydrocarbons, so little, in fact, that it's almost immeasurable compared to consumption. BLM suspended the leases, at the behest of the Dept. of Interior, headed by Ken Salazer, a key Obama ally, after some radical environmental groups sued, and were granted, the suspension for the reasons I outlined above. So basically the BLM, who holds the minerals in trust for all of us, caved to the enviro-nazis on this issue. The OHV ban is just another act of the radical environmental agenda that cares not a whit about your freedom, your rights or your recreation. BLM was supportive of drilling domestically on Federal lands prior to the Obama administration. If you ride recreationally, or even just fuel your vehicle, and you vote democratic, you are voting against yourself and your liberty. If you can't see the writing on the wall, you are simply lying to yourself and will reap the wages of supporting, or being indifferent, to these and all liberal policies.
kevin -Get riled up people  August 11, 2010 07:47 PM
You won't have anywhere to ride if you don't support efforts to keep land open to us. True story.