Topic of Discussion ** ACTION ALERT ** Emery Land bill could close thousands of miles of OHV Trails.

Greg

Wanderlusting
Admin
From Scott Phillips at SLOREX

** ACTION ALERT **

Please step up and call; even if you don’t recreate in this area. Any closures will only make the trails you enjoy that much more crowded.

Doris Quinn just spoke to Congressman Curtis’s office regarding the Emery Land bill that they are working on that could potentially close thousands of miles of OHV Trails. We need to be making more calls and raising some hell about this. Make sure you address the 4 bullet points if you call, text, etc.. We are running out of time to act. If you haven’t called, take 2 minutes and do so.

Please keep calling these congressional representatives:
Senator Orrin Hatch - 202-224-5251/801-524-4380
Rep. John Curtis - sponsor of the bill 202-225-7751/801-922-5400
Rep. Colleen Hanabusa - co-sponsor 202-225-2726
And ask for the 4 amendments be added to the bill which are the minimum changes it will take for OHV enthusiasts to support the bill.

They are:
1. Establish a policy of "no net loss" of off-highway vehicle access within the NRA in perpetuity. (SEC. 102 (d))
2. Remove language that would prohibit building new motorized routes. (SEC. 102 (d)(2))
3. Clarify that the NRA's recreational purpose includes operating off-highway vehicles on motorcycle, ATV, and four-wheel drive trails. (SEC. 101 (b))
4. Remove language that would terminate the NRA's resource advisory council. (SEC. 103 (f))

If you chose to help, please refer to these 4 changes when you do. Also, please call your own congressional representative. It would help for them to know OHV enthusiasts would like their help to have these amendments included in the bill. Thank you!

You can find your representative's information here:
https://www.house.gov/representati…/find-your-representative

MANY THANKS TO DORIS QUINN for this important update!
 

ID Bronco

Registered User
Location
Idaho Falls, ID
Having served on two RAC committees in Idaho, overall they are a good thing. I was the only motorized supporter on the RAC and although it was lonely, my voice was vital in many decisions. Without stakeholders being part of the process the Bureaucrats just run with what "feels good" or what the progressive agenda is at the time.

I hope everyone makes the calls.
 

anderson750

I'm working on it Rose
Location
Price, Utah
The Emery County Public Lands Bill is on its way through DC and the Sage Riders, Ride with Respect and the CCOHVA have been working to get some language changed in the bill to help protect the future of OHV use in the San Rafael Swell.

There are 2 main people (who I am not going to name at this point) who have been largely responsible for writing this bill. While Emery County holds regular Public Lands Council meetings, at no point did they hold any public meetings for people to look at any type of draft of the bill before it was sent to Washington. We have our own beliefs as to why this was and feel that we gained proof of it during the most recent Emery County Commission meeting when Randy Johnson was providing an update the the commissioners. Go to the following link https://www.utah.gov/pmn/files/432583.MP3
and pay attention to the exchange that occurs between County Commissioner Kent Wilson and Randy Johnson at around 24:30 when Kent raises questions that have been brought to his attention. While Randy claims it is a joke, we believe that truth can be found in sarcasm.

We need you to make it known that the OHV community will not support a bill that we know does not protect our interests. We need people to call the offices of the Emery County Commissioners, Rob Bishop, Mike Lee, John Curtis and Orrin Hatch.
 

cruiseroutfit

Cruizah!
Moderator
Premium Vendor
Location
Sandy, Ut
The Emery County Public Lands Bill is on its way through DC and the Sage Riders, Ride with Respect and the CCOHVA have been working to get some language changed in the bill to help protect the future of OHV use in the San Rafael Swell.

There are 2 main people (who I am not going to name at this point) who have been largely responsible for writing this bill. While Emery County holds regular Public Lands Council meetings, at no point did they hold any public meetings for people to look at any type of draft of the bill before it was sent to Washington. We have our own beliefs as to why this was and feel that we gained proof of it during the most recent Emery County Commission meeting when Randy Johnson was providing an update the the commissioners. Go to the following link https://www.utah.gov/pmn/files/432583.MP3
and pay attention to the exchange that occurs between County Commissioner Kent Wilson and Randy Johnson at around 24:30 when Kent raises questions that have been brought to his attention. While Randy claims it is a joke, we believe that truth can be found in sarcasm.

We need you to make it known that the OHV community will not support a bill that we know does not protect our interests. We need people to call the offices of the Emery County Commissioners, Rob Bishop, Mike Lee, John Curtis and Orrin Hatch.
Thanks for the update! Emailing on behalf of myself and ExpeditionUtah now. Will follow up with calls!
 

Doris

New Member
Location
Castle Dale, UT
For those who were not aware there was a meeting on Nov 8th in Lindon where Rep Curtis, Ray Petersen and Emery County Commissioners Kent Wilson and Lynn Sitterud attended to try and clarify the Emery County Public Lands bill.

Emery County Public Land Bill Meeting
There were three people who left Facebook reports on this meeting, this is from the Blue Ribbon Coalition:
I attended a meeting Thursday, November 8th, in Lindon, Utah hosted by Lone Peak 4-Wheeler Jeep Club. Representative Curtis, Ron Dean (representative from Senator Hatch's office), and Ray Peterson (Emery County Public Lands Administrator) were there to address concerns about Congressional Bill “Emery County Public Land Management Act of 2018” (H.R. 5727). However, I don't think that most of the OHV'ers that attended, including myself, were satisfied with the answers to the questions they were asked.
The main issue is that the current language does not make any assurances that we would need in this kind of bill. Despite speaking for an hour, the Curtis/Hatch/Emery County representatives didn't squarely address the bill, itself. Instead, Rep. Curtis held a copy of the memo leaked several years ago, which included the Swell on a list of potential monuments. Why didn't he hold a copy of his own bill, and directly answer questions? He touted the bill as combating a "winner take all" mentality, yet the bill appears to offer OHV opponents a "winner take some now, and we'll negotiate the rest later" solution. None of the Curtis/Hatch/Emery County representatives seemed open to including OHV benefits that would last beyond the day that the bill passes. Rather than defending responsible access, they focused on defending their intentions. Toward the end of the meeting, a similar sentiment was voiced by Clif Koontz (Executive Director of Ride with Respect and fierce advocate for trails in the Swell): "You may have great intentions, but at this late stage in the legislative process, we need action."
Rep. Curtis and Sen. Hatch are pushing to get the Emery County bill pushed through as part of an omnibus package by the end of this legislative term. If you don't remember, here is a reminder - the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 designated two million acres of wilderness in nine states, designated thousands of miles of new additions to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, made three additions to the National Park System, and expanded current National Park designations. Omnibus packaging is supposed to be reserved for bills that are widely supported, which clearly doesn't apply to the current Emery County bill. The Curtis/Hatch/Emery County representatives deserve credit for showing up, but they did nothing to make the bill acceptable for us, so it doesn't belong in a package.
A huge thanks to all of the clubs and individual ohv'ers that showed up, and to Lone Peak 4-Wheeler Jeep Club for arranging the meeting.
BlueRibbon Coalition Lone Peak 4 Wheelers Jeep Club Sage Riders Motorcycle Club Ride with Respect Castle Country OHV Association Utah 4 Wheel Drive Association and all the others.

This report was made by Marlin Sharp, from the Lone Peak 4 Wheelers Jeep Club:
Report on Thursday’s Meeting concerning Emery Bill H.R. 5727
Thank you for participating in the meeting concerning U.S. House Bill 5727 that affects our OHV trails in the San Rafael. Representative John Curtis, a representative from Senator Orrin Hatch and commissioners from Emery County came and talked extensively on what the legislation is hoping to accomplish. In short they strongly suggested: Because of the change in the U.S. House of Representatives and by not doing anything now, we may possibility loose more of our access, resources and grazing rights in the Swell. At the same time the OHV community addressed concerns with the lack of language in the bill that might exclude routing around future trouble areas on the roads and trails. This could possibly lead to whole trail closures.
We had approximately 100 people in attendance consisting of 18 OHV group members from all over Utah. Included were Mike Swenson from USALL and Blue Ribbon Coalition’s Rick Foster and their lawyer. We want to thank Clif Koontz of ‘Ride With Respect’ for his presentation and comprehensive work in evaluating and presenting the difficulties with the bill.
The meeting lasted about 90 minutes. It was informative with all sides having an opportunity to voice their feelings, questions and suggestions. The meeting was civil and productive. We now should do our part by promptly sending constructive comments to Senator Orrin Hatch, Senator Lee and Representative Bishop of the Utah delegation.
Political stakeholders talked about having spent hundreds of hours on this bill. They said it’s still in process and are tying to get the best settlement they can in our behalf. Considering the political climate coming next year in Washington D.C., leaders are moving quickly. Opinions will vary about the meetings success but at least we know more what we are up against in protecting our access in the Swell.

I myself have left this report on the meeting:
While I agree somewhat with Marlin Sharp's report on the Nov 8th meeting, I must respectfully disagree with some of it also.
Rep. Curtis talked extensively about keeping environmental groups in his "legislative box," pretty well dismissing most all of our concerns saying, "just work with me" but offering us nothing. He is going to keep his box closed to the OHV people until we give up completely on all 4 amendments we have been asking for, even while he admitted the reason the bill calls for no new roads or trails is because the environmentalists demanded it say it or they won't support his bill.
Curtis stated they believe this bill would hopefully prevent any road and trail closures. “Hopefully prevent” are words that anger OHV advocates. Our elected officials should be certain not just hopeful, but the closest thing to certainty provided by this bill is that BLM will be forced to close any trails that are found to impact sensitive resources such as archaeological sites because the bill would prohibit relocating the trail to avoid those resources.
Also, the report said all sides had the opportunity to voice their feelings, questions and suggestions. I didn't feel I was given the opportunity to do that. Rep. Curtis took over the meeting meant for the OHV groups to have time to talk about our side. He arrived early for his meeting and insisted (although he agreed to a 7:30 meeting) he had to talk right then because he had another meeting to leave for by 8 p.m., thereby effectively shut down the meeting intended for OHV groups to voice their feelings. I arrived at the 6:30 meeting about 10 minutes late myself, but I think it couldn't only have been 10 minutes later at the most Curtis arrived and took over the meeting. So, the OHV advocates were only allowed about 20 minutes for the hour-long meeting meant for us.
Yes, the meeting was civil, although Rep. Curtis threatened twice to walk out--once because he and the commissioners were forced to defend their comments made on public record about selling OHV users down the river, having planned it that way according to the consultant Randy Johnson then laughing about it! Bad joke they keep claiming, well as an OHV advocate, I don't appreciate being the brunt of that bad joke and they have NEVER offered an official apology for it. I still believe they meant it, they're just trying to cover it over now as a “bad joke”.
The other time he threatened to walk out was over a comment by Mike Swenson when Curtis became huffy and started talking about how hard he's worked on this bill, then admitted it was his staff working hard and he said "Don't go throwing my staff under the bus or I'll leave now."
I would like to personally say to Rep. Curtis we as OHV advocates have worked very hard ourselves getting the word out there about the issues with this bill and you, the Emery County Commissioners and Emery County Public Lands Council have been throwing us under the bus since you introduced this bill in May. But, we weren't threatening to walk out of the meeting at the slightest little remark.
 

Greg

Wanderlusting
Admin
Clif Koontz sent out a very important email this morning about how to fight this and stop it from happening.... if you're reading this, PLEASE TAKE ACTION NOW AND SAVE THE SWELL!

"$250 per acre

That's what the Emery County Commission is selling away mechanized access for, whether they realize it or not.

They figure that the Emery County bill (now part of S. 47) will generate at least $50 million from consolidating state lands (through trading with BLM land). In turn they have offered to designate wilderness for 200,000 acres beyond the current Wilderness Study Areas. Is a one-time collection of $250 per acre worth forever prohibiting mechanized use, whether for recreation or for a conservation project?

Maybe so, if Emery County had to choose between wheels or prosperity. But that's a false dichotomy, just like when groups seeking to vastly-expand wilderness say the only way to protect land is to exclude technology. The fact is that SITLA (a form of state land) trades can happen different ways, whether through targeted legislation that does nothing other than trades (as done in neighboring Grand County five years ago), or even resulting from a national-monument proclamation (although that's not preferred). Consolidating SITLA property is inherently bipartisan, as SITLA is directed to develop its property, and wilderness-expansion groups don't want it to be developed in a checkerboard fashion across places like the San Rafael Swell. Instead of reminding wilderness-expansion groups of that fact (through development action, if necessary), the county/state/federal representatives are inclined to essentially sell public access as the cost of poorly playing their hand. Who winds up paying is most land users and even the land managers that are trying to accomplish conservation on a budget.

Thursday morning Ride with Respect was ready to release an update urging off-highway vehicle (OHV) riders to request a legislative fix of this bill, either by scaling back at least 100,000 acres of the wilderness added to the bill last December, or at the very least by scaling back those wilderness boundaries to avoid closing 50 miles of county Class D primitive roads to vehicles, bicycles, even wheel barrows (see photo). However today the U.S. Senate just "invoked cloture" which basically means that they'll pass the public-lands package including the Emery County bill next week unless the delegation of congressmen from Utah pull the bill out of the package. The only way they'll get the courage to do so is if Emery County asks them to. The Emery County Commissioners have until Tuesday morning to withdraw their support.

The Commissioners are inclined to continue supporting a bill that they think is the only way to prosperity for their community. They are gravely mistaken. Not only are there other ways to achieve the SITLA trades, but there is a tremendous cost for every year that unsuitable areas are locked up in wilderness designation and every year that those 50 miles of roads remain closed. Motorized and mechanized use comprise roughly half of the $887 billion-dollar outdoor recreation industry. Just look at Ray's Tavern in Green River where, on any given night, half of the customers sport the familiar red-dirt sun tan and smile that comes from a day of riding.

But I compromise by nature, and I don't enjoy the drama of politics, so I was ready to make a deal that would resolve debates like wilderness expansion. This brings me to the absolute worst part of the Emery County bill. For all of the extra wilderness and road closures, the motorized restrictions in the proposed "recreation area," and the Wild And Scenic River designations that could jeopardize access even on the Grand County side of The Green (e.g. Hey Joe Mine and Dead Cow Loop), the bill provides little leverage to prevent wilderness-expansion groups from bullying BLM to manage the remaining land like wilderness, from incentivizing presidents to proclaim buffer monuments, etc. I would consider sacrificing my favorite trail for something, but the Emery County bill sacrifices over 25% of its federal lands to wilderness designation for nearly nothing in the long term. Their strategy to simply appease the bully will backfire big-time.

Don't get me wrong, I encourage negotiating with one's adversary, but only with eyes wide open. I'm taking a holistic view of the bill, and not acting out of anger over the fact that every OHV advocate was strung along ever since the Emery County bill was introduced. Nor does it matter that Emery County staff recently and publicly claimed that the bill wouldn't close roads when it flies in the face of the truth. Nor does it matter that a sponsor of the bill said we OHV advocates are no more honest or reasonable than SUWA (a wilderness-expansion group which, by the way, hasn't criticized the Emery County bill since early December because they realize that its passage would be like the earliest Christmas present ever). Ego be damned, blame is irrelevant to the crossroads that Emery County faces. The commissioners may have drank the Kool-Aid, but there's still time to sober up! Let's help them do the right thing by realizing that this bill is not a decent deal for the people of Emery County, visitors, or critters alike. There's no expiration date on consolidating state land. There's no impending national monument, and even if it were proclaimed, the monument would be easier to stomach that than this bill that takes half legislatively and leaves the rest wide open for administrative and judicial meddling.

To develop an accurately-informed opinion, please read up on details of the current bill from this morning's update by RwR here:
http://www.sageridersmc.com/land-use-issues.html
Note that, due to today's legislative activity, fixing this bill is no longer an option (although a new bill could always be introduced in this or future sessions of Congress), so our ask is to pull the Emery County bill from the package. Also note that, while it's still worth contacting your congress people and attending the Emery County meetings (this Tuesday, February 5th at 5pm and 6pm in Castle Dale), the critical action is for you to contact the Emery County Commission by Monday:
http://www.emerycounty.com/commission/index.htm
If your comment is written, please send a copy to me (Clif at RideWithRespect dot Org). Although this whole predicament is unnecessary and frustrating, the office of elected representatives deserves respect, so please focus on the issues rather than the individuals. And encourage them that it's never too late to start doing the right thing.

Those pushing the bill say it's a done deal. Let's prove them wrong. Let's seize the day. Thanks -Clif'
 

Greg

Wanderlusting
Admin
Here's what I sent....

"Hi Lynn, Gil and Kent,

I'm reaching out to you to encourage to pull your support for the Emery County Public Land Management Act.

I am writing to you on behalf of the members of RME4x4.com, we are a 4WD Community based out of Utah and have over 17,000 registered members. Many of our members love exploring, camping and driving around the multiple great treasures that the San Rafael Swell offers. We were out camping and exploring in the Swell not long ago, enjoying the history and solace that only the Swell offers.

We feel that the Public Land Management Act paves the way for closing down OHV & 4WD access, this land trade and the designation of even more Wilderness and WSA's is a slap in the face to those that have been enjoying this area for years.

Please don't trade our mechanized access to our PUBLIC lands for money!

Thanks for your time and consideration!"
 

Greg

Wanderlusting
Admin
Here's what I sent....

"Hi Lynn, Gil and Kent,

I'm reaching out to you to encourage to pull your support for the Emery County Public Land Management Act.

I am writing to you on behalf of the members of RME4x4.com, we are a 4WD Community based out of Utah and have over 17,000 registered members. Many of our members love exploring, camping and driving around the multiple great treasures that the San Rafael Swell offers. We were out camping and exploring in the Swell not long ago, enjoying the history and solace that only the Swell offers.

We feel that the Public Land Management Act paves the way for closing down OHV & 4WD access, this land trade and the designation of even more Wilderness and WSA's is a slap in the face to those that have been enjoying this area for years.

Please don't trade our mechanized access to our PUBLIC lands for money!

Thanks for your time and consideration!"
Got a reply from Lynn, thanking me for my input. Anyone else send an email?
 

cruiseroutfit

Cruizah!
Moderator
Premium Vendor
Location
Sandy, Ut
Got a reply from Lynn, thanking me for my input. Anyone else send an email?
Drafting a big one for ExpeditionUtah
 

Greg

Wanderlusting
Admin
Another friend wrote this well worded email, if anyone needs ideas....

"Commissioner Sitterud:

I very much enjoy motorized recreation in and around the San Rafael Swell spending many weekends in the area each year. My friends and I both enjoy the area and support the local economy through our food, lodging, fuel and miscellaneous purchases during our trips.

With this in mind I respectfully urge the Emery County Commission to:

A. remove the hundred-thousand acres of wilderness that was added to the Emery County Public Land Management Act in December of 2018, or

B. pull these wilderness boundaries back away from the fifty miles of county Class D primitive roads, or

C. pull the Emery County bill from its public-lands package (S. 47) that was introduced on January 8th, 2019

Sincerely,

You!"
 

Hickey

Rusty Girdle
Supporting Member
I started with Greg's letter and inserted some of my own words.



Hi Lynn, Gil, and Kent,



I am asking you to pull your support for the Emery County Public Land Management Act.

I have enjoyed every minute of my time in your County and I am often there on some type of mechanized transport. My family and I camp at our property near Fairview and venture over the hill to spend endless hours exploring the swell and all of its rich history and trails.

I have used my time on these trails to teach my family the proper ethics of sharing and preserving our public lands, and we often clean up trash that is left by others. My children are nearing that point where they will start there own families and pass on this knowledge and wisdom to their own, and I fear that they will not have the same access that they were raised with.

I am a member of RME4x4.com, we are a 4WD Community based out of Utah and have over 17,000 registered members. Many of our members love exploring, camping and driving around the multiple great treasures that the San Rafael Swell offers. We were out camping and exploring in the Swell not long ago, enjoying the history and solace that only the Swell offers.



We feel that the Public Land Management Act paves the way for closing down OHV & 4WD access, this land trade and the designation of even more Wilderness and WSA's is a slap in the face to those that have been enjoying this area for years.



Please don't trade our mechanized access to our PUBLIC lands for money!



Thank you for your time,
 
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