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Old 02-06-2008, 11:39 PM
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Default Comment ASAP on the Monticello, Utah BLM RMP!!!

Comment ASAP on the Monticello, Utah BLM RMP!!!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



YOU NEED TO COMMENT ON THIS... NOW!


What: The Monticello BLM District is revising their Resource Management Plan (RMP), this plan will dictate the future of motorized recreation on nearly 2 million acres of BLM lands in the greater Monticello area, including epic areas such as the Arch Canyon Trail, Beef Basin, Hole in the Rock and the Lockhart Basin Trail. The Monticello BLM office has developed five alternatives, each with varying components such as the amount of trails it closes to motorized use. In some areas of the RMP, nearly 80% of the trails would be closed to motorized travel under an anti-motorized radical alternative. The U4WDA has spent countless hours reveiwing the RMP data in order to help YOU make a comment, don't let your voice and opinion go unheard!

When: Comments are due by February 8th, 2008. Thats just a couple days away!!!

Why: If we don't, existing access to countless historic trails could be lost, they are slated for closure under several alternatives of the new RMP. Additionally the BLM has determined portions of land having "Wilderness Characteristics", many of which are part of SUWA's Redrock Wilderness Act before Congress. We need to fight this here. Don't let them push this into the RMP. These areas could become "fake" Wilderness, despite the fact they currently have existing and open roads right through them. Access to these areas would be lost forever!

How can you help: Take 20-30 minutes of your time and follow these steps.

Step 1: Read through the BLM Monticello RMP Introduction here:
http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/monti...t_rmp_eis.html

Step 2: Read through the U4WDA suggested "Talking Points" here:
http://www.u4wda.org/documents/U4WDA...ing.Points.pdf

Step 3: Write your comment! Include personal experiences in the area, future plans, but be sure to reference the talking points in Step 2. Be polite, descriptive, and most of all informed.

Your done!

Mail or email your comments here:

Mail:
Bureau of Land Management
Monticello Field Office
RMP Comments
P.O. Box 7
Monticello, Utah 84535

Email:
UT_Monticello_RMP_Comments@blm.gov

Fax:
Bureau of Land Management
Monticello Field Office
(435) 587-1518





FAQ:

Q: Where can I read more about the proposed alternatives and the Monticello RMP process?
A: Visit the Monticello BLM website: http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/monticello/planning.html

Q: Why don't you just list the email address to submit comments?
A: Comments need to be substantive! Simple comments like, "please keep the roads open" or "I support OHV recreation" are worthless and will be discarded. Take a few minutes to read through the information provided, and then submit your own comments.

Q: Why don't we use an automated "letter writer" or an online form letter to submit comments?
A: Automatically generated comments & form letters are worthless! These comments are counted as ONE comment even if 10,000 people send in the email. The comments need to be personal, unique, and informed.

Q: Isn't this a little late notice?
A: Information about the RMP has been available for months all over the Internet, in U4 publications, and on numerous online forums. But it's not too late! Submit your comments today!


PLEASE ACT NOW!


For more information & questions:
Feel free to contact me: Kurt Williams - kurt@u4wda.org
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  #2  
Old 02-07-2008, 07:18 AM
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Hey folks, don't ignore this!
The Wilderness Society is not ignoring it!!!
This is from their action alert page:
Quote:
2. TAKE ACTION

Utah's Red Rock Wilderness

Tucked into Utah's southeast corner, the 4.5-million-acre
Monticello Resource Area on the Colorado Plateau boasts some of
the most extraordinary ancient cultural sites in Utah, including
granaries, cliff dwellings, and rock art. Here, one can still
enjoy remote, seldom-visited vistas and find solitude in the
quiet canyons and stunning sculpted sandstone.

These experiences are quickly disappearing, however, as off-road
vehicle use (ORV) becomes increasingly popular, and oil and gas
development rapidly encroaches on pristine areas.

This is the last of six long-term management plans in Utah that
needs your action. Please click here to ask the Bureau of Land
Management to protect this area:
link kindly and gently deleted.
Hey Kurt, I notice a bit of confusion in your talking points: you say to support alternative B, but the proposed comments you provide refer to supporting alternative C with modifications - this has to be a typo?

I do NOT support alternative B, which is written to "minimize human activities, offer more protection for wildlife and other natural resources, and favor natural systems over commodities development. Decisions include minimizing routes and enlarging critical habitat for wildlife. All proposed ACECs are considered in this alternative. All eligible wild and scenic rivers (WSRs) are considered for suitability in this alternative."
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Last edited by Red_Chili; 02-07-2008 at 07:58 AM.
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Old 02-07-2008, 08:50 AM
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Default My comments on behalf of Rising Sun

PLEASE do not fail to make your own comments!!
PLEASE do not copy/paste my letter, but use it as a template to write your own.
Quote:
UT_Monticello_RMP_Comments@blm.gov

William H. Morgan, Jr.
Rising Sun 4x4 Club
Land Use Coordinator
[address]


Bureau of Land Management
Monticello Field Office
RMP Comments
P.O. Box 7
Monticello, Utah 84535

To Whom It May Concern:
I am the Land Use Coordinator with Rising Sun 4x4 Club, a four wheel drive Toyota enthusiasts’ club headquartered in Denver, Colorado. Every year we sponsor, organize, and host the Cruise Moab 4x4 event in the first week of May. This event draws participants from all over the US and Canada, and generates many thousands of dollars in revenue for us (as well as direct revenue for the BLM) which in turn we use for land use concerns including 4x4 route maintenance, restoration, and donations to the southern Utah communites as well as our own. It is a popular event because the southern Utah area has recreational opportunities unlike any other in the US.

Now a little about myself, personally: I am a 4x4 enthusiast of course, but also enjoy trail motorcycling, mountain biking, hiking and camping in the Moab and Southern Utah area. I am a hunter and strong conservationist as well. I am a one-person multiuse recreationalist, in other words; so I understand the concerns of potential user conflict quite well in an area that sees as many visitors as the southern Utah area. My family shares in these pursuits as well, and enjoying them together is an extremely important value to us and has been rewarding through the years. I am passionate about sustainable land use and advocate minimum impact practices to the club and to all trail/road users I encounter. I am not alone in this; in fact, these passions are representative of our club and we hope they help you understand the values that drive our comments herein.

Our club supports Alternative C, provided some important changes are made in the alternative. Our views are in alignment with the Utah 4 Wheel Drive Association and we support their insights.

-Primitive recreation zones, Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, and so-called "areas with wilderness character" (WC).

BLM lands are unique in their value, and are meant to be managed differently than National Parks or Wilderness. The BLM has a Congressional mandate to manage these lands pursuant to the Multiple Use/Sustained Yield paradigm described in law. We believe under multiple use/sustained yield, OHV enthusiasts, mountain bikers, hikers, energy developers, equestrians and the like can share public lands and use them wisely. There simply is not enough land to segregate different users so that multiple uses never encounter a different use of the land. Yet, there is sufficient Wilderness land for ‘quiet use’ advocates to enjoy solitude and silence and likely never encounter another human.

Management objectives that use such things as primitive recreation zones, Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, and so-called "areas with wilderness character" to create a de-facto Wilderness management are unlawful. Managing increasing acreage of BLM land as ‘wilderness-like’ not only is a violation of the BLM’s mandate, but marginalizes legitimate motorized users into a smaller ‘piece of the pie’ with increasing per-mile impact. Ironically, this degrades the remaining OHV areas even more.

Under Alternative C there are 76,764 acres of ACEC land; the radical Alternative B & E include 521,141 acres. Vast amounts of OHV trails would be lost in the radical alternatives to ACEC designations. The ACEC lands in Alternative C are sufficient.

If approved as WC areas, these areas would essentially be 'locked up' just like a Wilderness Study Area, without the act of Congress needed to legally make Wilderness. Naming these lands as such is one step closer to them becoming fullblown Wilderness, not necessarily a bad thing in every case, but a step that shouldn’t be included in this RMP nor be performed by the BLM. They represent an attempt by wilderness advocacy groups to designate Wilderness without the involvement of Congress, which should not be done by the BLM and which opens the BLM up to unnecessary litigation.

We do not believe that additional routes should be closed in currently designated WSAs. If these routes are currently open routes, they should remain open. Access to these WSAs has already been severely restricted. We do not believe that it should be further limited. There are existing routes that border and in some cases enter WSAs. These routes were “cherry-stemmed” into the WSA designations, and have been open for motorized use since that time. Closing these access roads would further restrict access into the WSAs, including access to hiking trailheads. This is unnecessary and extreme.

For these reasons we strongly oppose the management proposal by wilderness advocacy groups.

-User Conflict and Special Recreation Management Areas (SMRAs)

As a general idea, this strategy of designating SRMAs makes some sense to guide users to areas where their use is encouraged and properly managed. We do believe that all SRMAs with a motorized focus should include direction regarding when and how additional or expanded routes/areas would be provided should there be a need.

We also stress for reasons discussed above that SRMAs and their "focus areas" should avoid excluding other uses categorically. The Preferred Alternative clearly shows the BLM recognizes the importance of providing some motorized routes in non-motorized zones. We are deeply concerned however that designating an SRMA as a non-motorized area will create user confusion and actually instigate user conflict where OHV use is actually still legal. We have experienced this before in prior Cruise Moab events, even though our travel on a specific route was entirely legal. Please clarify, up front, via signage or other on-the-ground means, that an SRMA may emphasize a particular use without excluding other uses. This is critical to reduce user confusion and resulting user conflict (see comments above, under User Conflict).

How should recreational uses be managed to limit conflicts among recreational users? One answer is to create “exclusive use zones”. This is not the only answer to user conflict, and is, in fact, unworkable. Currently there is a large amount of Wilderness land appropriate for ‘quiet use’ advocates, but creating “exclusive use” zones in areas currently open for OHV use will concentrate increasing use on a smaller footprint, increasing impact.

When addressing user conflict, the final plan should avoid “exclusive use zones” where, based on perceived or potential user conflict, one or more conflicting uses is prohibited.

In order to address the "user conflict" issue, the final plan should direct land managers to educate the non-motorized visitors where they may encounter vehicle traffic in certain areas as well as informing them of areas where they may avoid such encounters. This should include signage where necessary to direct slower speeds.

If "user conflict" can be documented, the BLM should take the more incremental approach of simply re-routing one of the uses. For example, a hiking trail can be constructed to avoid a section of popular OHV route. Likewise, an equestrian trail may be constructed to avoid a section of popular mountain bike route, and so forth.

Given the increased interest in OHV recreation, the answer is to ensure that existing routes are not closed in SRMAs. Camping and OHV opportunities should be explored in the SRMAs, rather than reduced. This will have the effect of 'spreading' impact with less per-mile impact on open routes. It will also reduce congestion and increase the value of the recreational experience, including relative solitude even for the OHV user.

-Special Recreation Permits.

Under Alternative C, the maximum number of vehicles allowed on a run or event without a permit would be 25, or 15 when camping. However, in the case of Arch Canyon, this will be limited to 2 groups of 12 vehicles. Alternative D permits 2 groups of 25 vehicles. The Arch Canyon restrictions would make it difficult or impossible for many clubs and social groups to have informal runs and outings in that area. Many social groups are not organized as clubs, and are merely collections of friends and acquaintances with a common interest. They do not have the resources to assemble a permit process, and this is an unnecessary infringement on their access rights. The vehicle limit for non-permitted events should be the limits from Alternative D, not the restrictions as proposed in Alternative C.

-Open areas.

Our club is a strong advocate of the “travel limited to designated roads, trails, and areas” management ethic. Nevertheless we believe that the BLM should adopt more managed “open areas” and include them into Alternative C. We feel it is important that OHV users have access to open travel areas where this use will not adversely impact fragile zones, such as in washes, sand dunes, hard rock areas and other areas. It is our opinion that providing areas such as these keep users from later leaving the trails in designated travel areas as they seek an open area recreation experience. We would hope the BLM would consider adding more of these areas as appropriate into the final decision.

Open areas provide different terrain for everything from bicycle free riding, to trials motorcycling, to hardcore rock crawling. As 99% of the Monticello Field Office becomes limited to designated routes, open areas play an even more critical role for accommodating specialized sports.

-Missing Routes in Alternative C.

We have been made aware that Alternative C is missing some historically accessed routes. The Utah 4 Wheel Drive Association (U4WDA) has brought all of these routes to your attention. They should be added to Alternative C as open motorized routes. In addition, we assert that the BLM should recognize the RS2477 road claims that are part of San Juan and Grand County Transportations Plans. The validity of these claims should be determined before a final decision is made in this RMP. We strongly suggest that San Juan and Grand Counties should be consulted regarding all road decisions prior to finalizing the RMP. This will save unnecessary uncertainty and litigation for the BLM, and result in a decision that reflects a true partnership with all stakeholders.

We assert that the following routes should remain open in their entirety and amended to Alternative C:
Route Numbers B107, B250, B260, D0010, D0011, D0012, D0013, D0023, D0042, D0044, D0057, D0059, D0060, D0177, D0210, D0211, D0212, D0244, D0246, D0575, D1918, D1921, D2037, D2117, D2153, D3486, D3487, D3522, D3983, D4668, & D4779

-Camping.

We believe the BLM should allow vehicles to access campsites via existing spur roads off of the designated routes. Allowing adequate motorized access to campsites along routes is important. This should be clarified in Alternative C.

-Conclusion.

We are committed to the ethic of sustainable use in the Monticello area, and have put our money where our collective mouth is for years. We feel the BLM RMP have gone too far in marginalizing OHV use, however. OHV users enjoy public lands in a sustainable way, and are important partners with the BLM to make sure these lands are passed down to future generations in their current – or better – condition. A small minority of users are responsible for resource damage, and the majority should not be restricted as a result; more intelligent and strategic interventions are called for rather than trail & route closure affecting all OHV users. To that end, we have and will continue to politely confront those who misuse the OHV opportunities at our events in Utah, and all our visits there. We look forward to continuing to partner with the Monticello BLM office in furthering education and advocating a sustainable use ethic in future years.

Please include us in your decision making and keep us advised as to your progress.
Sincerely,


William H. Morgan, Jr.
Land Use Coordinator
On behalf of the Rising Sun 4x4 Club
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Old 02-07-2008, 09:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red_Chili View Post
PLEASE do not fail to make your own comments!!
PLEASE do not copy/paste my letter, but use it as a template to write your own.
Holy crudkadiddlehopper Bill! I started my letter and will finish and send it sometime today but it still will be much shorter than yours! Thank you so very much (again) for being so passionate with this! I am overjoyed at the club AND the increased participation of trail users across the board! I want to make a point that folks shouldn't feel overwhelmed by the thought that they need to write letters of huge depth. The most important thing is that they do write something explaining who they are why they care and what they suggest. That often can be done in a couple paragraphs. Like Bill's example however, if you really have a passionate viewpoint write it all down. These letters do get read and the more you are honest about your feelings the more of a chance those feelings will make a difference! These issues are very important and without folks taking a little time and putting some thought into their letters the powers that be just have no clue. I'm sorry for the old soapbox again but Bill's letter struck emotion in me, hopefully it has the same effect on the intended recipient!
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Old 02-07-2008, 09:40 AM
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I fired mine off already. But I might add a couple of thoughts. Like UB and Bill have said, writing something is important, above and beyond anything else. Saying you are a 4WD user, MTBer, hiker, climber, etc. and you visit the affected area. Then more or less just say you are paying attention and want to make sure the lands are kept reasonably open and accessible by everyone.

Correct me if my assessment is wrong, but did it seem that the non-WSA with Wilderness Characteristics use was much less pushed in this DEIS/DRMP than some of the others? It seemed that only Alternative E had any real use of it. Although this plan was written about at the same time as the others and so the desk pounding that we've been doing the past couple of months probably is not the reason for that.
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Old 02-07-2008, 10:40 AM
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It is because the WC designation is a new and sneaky (and IMHO illegal) way to lock up land. It was part of the SUWA proposal that the BLM incorporated. Fast-track lock-up. That alone is enough to oppose it wherever and whenever it occurs.
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Old 02-07-2008, 12:18 PM
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Do you prefer that these individual letters get written with mention of the Rising Sun club in each one, or is it better to make it seem like "anonymous" concern?
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Old 02-07-2008, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacket View Post
Do you prefer that these individual letters get written with mention of the Rising Sun club in each one, or is it better to make it seem like "anonymous" concern?
Doesn't matter, although saying you are a TLCA, Rising Sun, IMBA, Access Fund or whatever other organization does lend legitimacy to your letter. I'll sometimes mention my memberships, sometimes not. In any case I don't claim to officially speak for the group, just as a concerned member of them. But by stating your memberships you just as easily support or undercut your letter, so I don't just throw it in unless it has some relevance to my position. For example, in and around Moab being a Rising Sun member has merit because of Cruise Moab. I think the event has a good reputation for stewardship, so it I think reinforces what you say about responsible use. Just my $0.02.
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Old 02-07-2008, 01:42 PM
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Absolutely, Dave!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Ben View Post
Holy crudkadiddlehopper Bill! ...Thank you so very much (again) for being so passionate with this! ...The most important thing is that they do write something explaining who they are why they care and what they suggest. That often can be done in a couple paragraphs. Like Bill's example however, if you really have a passionate viewpoint write it all down. These letters do get read and the more you are honest about your feelings the more of a chance those feelings will make a difference! ...I'm sorry for the old soapbox again but Bill's letter struck emotion in me, hopefully it has the same effect on the intended recipient!
I am the king of selective Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V, edit.

That is a perfectly valid approach, cuz lemme tell ya, the BLM does it!!! You see the same verbage and terminology creep in and sweep a whole bunch of DEIS/RMPs. Of course, that means our responses are likewise similar. But you do have to make it specific to the area.

Many thanks to the UFWDA for stepping up here! Took me about 30 minutes to compose a meaningful letter in my own words. Also helped that I started with my comment letter for the Moab DEIS/RMP, so many points are nearly identical!
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Old 02-08-2008, 08:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red_Chili View Post
...Hey Kurt, I notice a bit of confusion in your talking points: you say to support alternative B, but the proposed comments you provide refer to supporting alternative C with modifications - this has to be a typo?...
That was a typo in one talking point, it was changed before you posted but took a couple of hours to go live on the web. Thanks for making that clear!

SUPPORT ALTERNATIVE C

This one is huge, the Monticello BLM is reporting a pretty dismal turnout on comments thusfar, if there is any hope in saving Arch Canyon... we need to change that!
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