ATV Club Resolution
A resolution submitted to the membership of the Utah/Arizona ATV Club of Kanab, Utah.
Dated: April 20, 2017
A not for profit OHV organization representing the interests of Off Highway enthusiast from throughout the western United States
This resolution supports access and recreation on lands administered by the
Bureau of Land Management in Kane County, St George, Grand Staircase/Escalante National
Monument, and Glen Canyon, Lake Mead National Recreation areas within the State of Utah and
▸ supports expanding state and local influence over motorized access and recreation
on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM);
▸ supports a "no net loss" policy for current and future travel planning;
▸ requests the BLM to provide a public review and comment period for new
transportation and travel management guidance; and
▸ supports funding a full-time employee to work on behalf of the counties that the
new travel plans affect.
Be it resolved by the Utah Arizona ATV Club of Kanab, Utah, the Club membership concurring therein:
WHEREAS, Utah/Arizona ATV Club members and visitors to Southern Utah and Northern Arizona depend on the ability to access and use federally managed lands for OHV recreation that provide economic benefits to Utah and Arizona and local communities;
WHEREAS, over the last three decades, the ability of citizens to use motorized travel for access and recreation on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) managed lands in Utah and Arizona has been drastically reduced;
WHEREAS, recent BLM planning decisions cut road and trail access roughly in half while greatly expanding areas set aside for the exclusive use of citizens who seek a nonmotorized experience;
WHEREAS, a coalition of environmental groups is challenging land use and travel management plans for the BLM's Kanab, Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument and St George, Utah field offices (who manage BLM lands including the Vermillion Cliffs, and the Arizona Strip in Northern Arizona);
WHEREAS, on January 13, 2017, the BLM and other litigants filed a proposed settlement in U.S. District Court for the District of Utah to settle a longstanding legal challenge to land use and travel management plans on approximately 10 million acres of BLM-administered lands in Utah;
WHEREAS, if approved by the district court and subject to other certain court actions, the settlement agreement would resolve eight years of litigation brought by a consortium of environmental groups that includes the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, the Wilderness Society, and Earthjustice;
WHEREAS, if approved, the settlement agreement would require the BLM to revise its travel management plans of the BLM's Kanab, Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument (GSENM field offices, and planning would be completed under specific guidelines mandated by the proposed settlement as well as BLM's existing and new planning rules and regulations;
WHEREAS, recently-revised BLM travel planning guidance replaces a longstanding policy of "keeping routes open unless there is a compelling reason for closure" with a new policy of "closing routes unless there is a compelling reason to keep them open," and the travel planning guidance requires the BLM to, yet again, inventory and manage for "Wilderness Characteristics"; and
WHEREAS, participation in BLM travel planning is time consuming and expensive for Utah's and Arizona’s rural counties and for motorized enthusiasts who often find themselves overwhelmed by the complicated and overly bureaucratic planning process:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the membership of the Utah Arizona ATV Club of Kanab, Kane County, Utah, and Northern Arizona the membership concurring therein, emphasizes the need for and supports expanded state and local influence over access and recreation on BLM lands in Utah and Arizona.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the membership of the Utah Arizona ATV Club of Kanab, Kane County, Utah and Northern Arizona support a "no net loss" policy for any current and future travel planning. The "no net loss" policy means that, if a federal land manager closes "x" miles of road or trail, then they must provide an equivalent opportunity nearby. The equivalent opportunity shall consist of newly constructed or previously closed routes in Utah and Arizona that provide:
(1) opportunities for scenic vistas;
(2) challenging terrain for off-highway vehicle and mountain bike travel;
(3) connections to other existing trail systems or trails; and
(4) specific routes for off-highway vehicle singletrack (motorcycle and mountain bike),ATV, UTV, and full-size 4WD opportunities.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Utah/Arizona ATV Club Requests State Offices of the BLM to provide a public review and comment period for the revised Travel and Management Instruction Memo (currently known as Instruction Memorandum No. UT 2012-066) as well as the draft comprehensive travel and transportation planning programmatic agreement, which would prescribe how travel planning addresses cultural resources. That within both states these efforts would be coordinated within the appropriate in state department managing OHV regulations and activities.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Utah/Arizona ATV Club urges the Kanab City Commission, Kane County Commission, of Utah. The Page City Council, Fredonia City Council, Coconino County Commission and Mojave County Commission of Arizona, the Governors of Utah and Arizona to support the consideration of a State specific line item budget that will fund a full-time employee (within those states) to work on behalf of the affected Utah and Arizona counties on the new travel plans.
Motion to Approve:
Vote: Approved by a unanimous vote.
4-14-17 Letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke reference the Paria River Road
April 14, 2017
Secretary Ryan Zinke
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240
Honorable Secretary Zinke
I am writing on behalf of the Utah/Arizona ATV Club of Kanab, Utah. Our club is mostly comprised of a variation of people who enjoy recreating on our public lands using our OHV’s. Many of us are retired and some are physically limited due to age and injuries. Here in Kanab, Utah our club endeavors to support our community through donations to schools, the needy and veterans, and by hosting visitors, including sponsoring OHV events that benefit this area. One of which is our annual ‘Warriors Ride’ where we take veterans, some disabled, to the beautiful red rock country we enjoy riding our OHV’s here in Kane County, Utah.
Our group being folks consisting of both home-grown locals and others who are new comers to this area. In past years, the club used to enjoy many OHV Trails that are now closed such as riding up the Paria River; from the old Paria townsite north of US Highway 89. This particular Paria River corridor route had been a road into southern Utah since the 1800’s. This route follows the Paria river bed from the area south of Cannonville, Utah, and exits at the old Paria town site. It was a signed open route at one time. This road is full of pioneer writings historical petroglyphs, and Pictoglyph sites. It was the favorite ride of the locals and many OHV visitors.
Mind you sir, the Paria River, to the south of US Highway 89 is designated wilderness and is respected as such. That area is protected by two other designated congressionally approved wilderness areas and allows those seeking a wilderness experience to hike all the way to the Colorado River.
Then in 2009, environmental groups petitioned the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument (GSENM) BLM field office to close access to the northern section of this RS2477 titled designated road. This route, being not only a historic byway used by OHV enthusiasts, but by people interested in visiting the pioneer rock art name site locations made by pioneers who often were their own forebearers. The local people had enjoyed this for years causing no damage to the route. You see, when the annual floods run the Paria, all tracks are washed away.
In 2009, the GSENM BLM Field Office arbitrarily and unilaterally closed this route without input from anyone except those environmental groups or handpicked committees. Kane County at that time protested and took this issue to the courts where it remains. The GSENM BLM office posted it as a wilderness study area. Disregarding, that this route had been considered a RS2477 road by Kane county for years. There were huge protests here in Kane County which brought out large groups of people from both sides of the issue.
Our ATV Club, and the Southern Utah Off Highway Vehicle Alliance, based here in Kanab, Utah would urge you to consider reviewing decisions made by our local BLM land managers. It seems that attempts to communicate or give local input to the GSENM BLM Field office are ignored, simply dismissed by double talk. No one seems to be held accountable to the affected local people regarding the unilateral decision making methods the BLM employs in such issues. This includes many of the BLM field offices in Southern Utah and namely the BLM Office who manages the Grand Staircase National Monument.
The below comments come from a former Kane county, Utah County Commissioner Mark Habbeshaw who was involved in this litigation at that time.
“The specific document closing the Paria road to motorized travel was the Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument (GSENM) management’s administrative decision to close the road based on petitions to close the road submitted to the BLM GSENM by Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) and The Wilderness Society (TWS). The petitions were submitted during the time Kane County was under a federal injunction issued by Judge Tena Campbell not to take any action on roads without quiet title adjudication in federal court. Thus, the county was powerless to stop the closure. The closure took effect shortly after the protest ride up the Paria in 2009. Judge Campbell was subsequently overturned by the 10th Circuit and the Paria is in the current quiet title lawsuit of over 700 roads in Kane County”.
“One and one half years prior to the closure the county commission submitted a request for a non-binding determination supporting the public’s RS2477 rights along the road (including all of our documentation supporting the road as a public highway) as per Department of Interior policy under Secretary Norton. Unfortunately, the BLM refused to consider the county’s submission. The county was successful in securing QT to six roads (the first in the nation) and will likely prevail in many more titles in the current QT litigation”.“It is my understanding that the current commission is relying on quiet title to resolve road ownership rather than creating an issue by opening the road on the ground. It may be some time before the quiet tile litigation resolves the issue”.
What we hope for is the opportunity to resolve the status of our RS2477 roads based on reasonable resolution and short of quiet title but there are no specific efforts that I am aware of at this time of the willingness of anyone with the authority to even discuss this.
One last point is about Wilderness Study Areas (WSA’s), it seems, from our point of view, that many of our BLM Officials are quick to determine that a specific public land area has the characteristics of wilderness (with the help of environmental groups) and designate it as a Wilderness Study Area. In doing so many people are shut out of these areas, (except for existing roads through them) and these WSA’s languish for years as just a WSA with no congressional action taken. We wonder how long can such federal agencies close access to such large areas? Who knows, these WSA’s do not sunset and last for years. One solution could be as President Trump said about federal regulations “for every new regulation, two must be eliminated”. This seems a solution to the languishing Wilderness Study Areas;for each new WSA proposed by the BLM within their management area, they must withdraw two existing WSA’s. As long as congress had not acted nor legislated wilderness approval through a congressional act within the previous 10 years.
We wish you the best in your new position, and would invite you to visit this area of Southern Utah for a firsthand experience of seeing some of the most beautiful scenery and OHV riding in America.
Thank you for your consideration.
Samuel Smith, President
Utah/Arizona ATV Club
6250 Antelope Trail
Kanab, Utah 84741
1999 Photo of BLM Sign at the Paria River
The GSENM Field Office denies this sign was there.