Located near St. George, Utah among the red rocks and red sand, Sand Mountain, by Sand Hollow State Park hosts year round recreational opportunities for people around the world. Bureau of Land Management is proposing a land swap. However, this swap is not fair and could devastate events, local businesses and countless traditions and future memories. The exchange would involve swapping 1050 acres of the Western Edge of Sand Mountain near Warner Valley with 89 acres of private land in Washington near Green Springs in an area managed as a desert tortoise preserve. Washington County is designated as the Facilitator of the Exchange. The City of Washington plans to to annex much of the acquired area into their City, which may be a significant influence in the exchange.
This exchange will affect access to the West Rim Trail, Ridgeline Trail, dispersed camping, staging areas and more. The recreation community needs to rally together or else this area could be taken forever. UPLA, DRATS, Mayor Nanette Billings (Hurricane), BlueRibbon Coalition, and Tri State ATV have been meeting with BLM, Water Conservancy, and the City of Washington to learn more about the project. Now we need you to become part of the process. Send a comment to the BLM to show a strong voice of opposition to this terrible proposal and read the full briefing below. We have also programmed the action alert to send your message to members of Congress, because land exchanges such as this tend to also require Congressional approval.
The proposed action just entered the Public Scoping phase, which is scheduled to conclude at 5:00 PM on April 13, 2023. The Following maps provided by BLM and Utah Public Lands Alliance (UPLA) show: An Overall view of the Washington City Annexation Plan, which shows the proposed BLM Exchange areas, the new Washington City Annexation, and the proposed reservoir in the valley.
This shows the parcels which will be exchanged
In the West Rim with Sat Views image, you can see the Red Outlined section was the land originally requested in October 2022, and the Green Outline shows the expanded area they added in February. The exchange and City Annexation include all of the area around the Pipeline Road and dispersed camping sites, and portions of West Rim including the Steps and The Funnel.
This shows where the trails and recreation access will be most impacted
The current exchange proposal does not swap land acre for acre. If nothing else, the BLM should only be swapping 89 acres and it should be the lowest recreational valued land. Sand Mountain has some of the highest recreational value in the entire state – and even the nation – for off-roading recreation and events. For the BLM to not consider an acre for acre exchange shows they are not truly considering the benefits to the off-roading community. Not only does this provide one of the best places to recreate but it’s a huge economic driver to local communities. People travel from across the world to experience Sand Mountain. It’s blatantly obvious the BLM and those facilitating the exchange are not considering the entrance fees, hotels, gas, food and so many more commodities that bring in economic revenue for St. George and smaller surrounding communities. They need to hear from the recreation users of this area.