I was going to ask if some that have written wouldn't mind sharing examples. It might make it easier for those who want to join in the fight but aren't sure how or what to say.I found in my past land fights that is helps to post some sample comments. Obviously, don't just copy and paste, but adapt them and give everyone some idea of what comments are helpful and what isn't.
You said mostly what I was going to say. With the caveat that SUWA is always going to work to shut down every trail they can, that is not an immediate goal here. This is just a comment period as the BLM works up a new travel plan pursuant to a previous court settlement.Some on on a FB group posted this.
This is a long ass post, but please take a few minutes.
The Statement that SUWA is trying to shut down our favorite desert recreation areas near moab IS NOT TRUE. There has been dissemination of information that States SUWA is trying to shut down all of our favorite riding areas near Moab, white wash sand dunes, and San Rafael swell area. I decided to look deeply into what is actually being said and I've summarized it below in detail.
In short, we need to be educated on what is actually being claimed and stated and what the BLM and SUWA are actually trying to accomplish. Please take time to read below. Please use the following link to “participate” and leave https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/2001224/570 a comment on your thoughts of proposed changes and what you think BLM should do.
The below link is the lawsuit settlement between SUWA and BLM.
This is the settlement between a lawsuit SUWA vs Utah Department of Interior (of which BLM is a part)
In 2008 BLM came up with a Resource Management plan (RMP) (think oil and gas) and a Travel Management Plan (TMP) (think offroads and trails) but SUWA stated that the BLM did not actually exercise any good faith effort to minimize impact, identify as they planned for new oil/gas drilling sites and new Off Road Vehicle roads (travel management plan).
Nov 4 2013, courts found BLM partially to blame for not following environmental regulations as they planned for new oil and gas sites, and BLM road management, and ordered them to comply with the Environmental regulations.
May 2015, courts issued a remedy order requiring the BLM to resolve these legal matters within 3 years.
Oct 2015, BLM appealed the courts decision and remedy order
Feb 2016 SUWA amended their complaints adding site specific allegations
Whereas, since 2013, BLM has worked with numerous parties to develop a comprehensive travel and transportation planning agreement that guides how BLM accounts for cultural resources when designating routes.
Provisions to be met: New travel management plans will be made for the following areas:
Henry mountains and Fremont Gorge
Dinosaur, Book Cliffs, Nine Mile Canyon
San Rafael desert, San Rafael swell, Nine Mile Canyon
Indian Creek, Book Cliffs, Labyrinth/Gemini Bridges, Dolores river
Trail Canyon, Paunsaugunt
This means that the BLM will need to propose a travel management plan (think maps of routes) for all the above areas. They can keep current routes, shut some done, or create new ones, as long as they comply with the environmental laws and consider all the potentially endangered areas.
Basically the majority of the document states that the BLM will need to minimize damage or impact to “resources of the public lands.” They will need to seek approval from the NEPA or National Environmental Policy Act before doing so.
Currently, BLM is trying to draft current ORV or OHV routes in the wilderness areas mentioned above and SUWA is concerned that the vast increase in number of approved routes will ruin the wilderness. They aren’t wanting to shut these things down, they just state their goals are
1. Participating in the BLM’s ongoing ORV travel planning for the 13 travel management areas delineated in the settlement agreement as well as travel planning for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. Through that process, SUWA is providing significant information about the condition of routes on the ground and potential impacts to natural and cultural resources. The BLM must designate motorized vehicle routes in a way that minimizes conflicts with other users and protects the magnificent resources of Utah’s wild redrock country;
2. Continuing to provide the BLM and the public with information regarding the environmental impacts of ORV use and urging the agency to develop trail designations that make sense and minimize impacts to natural and cultural resources; and
3. Assisting in the clean-up and restoration of ORV-damaged areas through service trips with our members and other partners in the conservation community.
“These forthcoming travel plans present a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shape the future of land management in southern and eastern Utah. The plans should account for the expected increase in visitation and ever-evolving recreational uses on Utah’s public lands. While these plans should provide access to–and opportunities for–recreation, they also must protect cultural and natural resources, including air quality, wildlife, soils, vegetation and riparian areas. The plans must minimize conflicts between diverse user groups without prioritizing off-road vehicle use above all others.
BLM’s proposed San Rafael Desert travel plan does none of these things. It is short-sighted, destructive and wholly fails to account for the diverse array of public land resources and user groups.
We need your help to demand that BLM go back to the drawing board and get this right. Utah’s wild places deserve no less.”
A before and after map of the proposed BLM routes are shown below (granted, this is from the SUWA website).
There is a good possibility that their goals are pretty close to our goals. We want open trails, we want to ride, we want there to not be trash and garbage strewn everywhere, and we want to continue to enjoy our great outdoors. Let’s work with BLM with tolerance, wisdom, and not ignorance and anger. Let’s make good things happen.