Moab Utah | Environmental Group Sues to force Travel Management

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We thought that we had beat Travel Management planning on Bureau of Land Management land, but environmental groups have found another way to force it through.

What is Travel Management?

Travel Management is the process where federal land managers create a system of roads for motorized use. It’s somewhat of a grand finale that incorporates the decisions of various management plans. The process is meant to designate certain roads for certain uses and decide what backroads will remain open.

Throughout the past 3 years, Arizona has faced nearly 10,000 miles of backroad closures on BLM land. We were able to organize and beat these closures. In 2017 a Mohave county supervisor took the issue to Washington. As a result, the Trump Administration passed House Joint Resolution 44. It nullified the Bureau of Land Management Resource Management 2.0 plan put in place by the Obama administration during his last few weeks in office.

The Congressional Review Act was used to nullify regulations that, among other things, resulted in the Bureau closing roads. The final decision was published in the Federal Register on December 21, 2017, and reads as follows:

By operation of the Congressional Review Act (CRA), the Resource Management Planning Rule (Planning 2.0 Rule) shall be treated as if it had never taken effect. The BLM issues this document to effect the removal of any amendments, deletions or other modifications made by the nullified rule, and the reversion to the text of the regulations in effect immediately prior to the effective date of the Planning 2.0 Rule.

Travel Management on BLM land has since stopped, and further investigation with local BLM offices has confirmed that. In fact, the bureau has been working on our behalf to designate and sign new trails without a travel management plan.

Utah needs your help.

Despite all of this, our neighbors in Utah are in trouble. Environmental groups have found a way to push Tavel Management Planning through regardless of our narrow victories. Despite the rules being reversed by an act of congress, wilderness groups are filing lawsuits to force land managers to complete Travel Management Planning on BLM land, and Utah is in the crosshairs.

The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance filed a lawsuit in 2017 demanding that the Bureau of Land Management complete travel management, and they won. Now the Bureau is court-ordered to finish Travel Management across the entire state of Utah. Nearly 15 different Travel Management Areas administered by the Bureau are facing thousands of miles of backroad closures.

The Labyrinth Rims and Gemini Bridges area just northwest of Moab, Utah, is introducing a Travel Management Plan.

The Labyrinth Rims and Gemini Bridges northwest of Moab is home to Utah’s most iconic trails. Some of the trails included in this Travel Management are Gemini Bridges, Rusty Nail, Golden Spike, Gold Bar Rim, Golden Crack, Poison Spider, Monitor & Merrimac, Seven Mile Rim, Bull Canyon, White Wash Dunes, 10 Mile Canyon, Bartlett, Tusher, Determination Towers, Mashed Potatoes, Secret Spire, Dubinsky, 3D, Dead Cow, The Tubes, and all other roads and ATV, singletrack trails surrounding the dunes.

The Bureau of Land Management is accepting comments from the public.

There are no proposed road closures yet, but the Bureau is seeking comments from the public. You can use the comment form HERE, the form below, or the map below to submit your comments to the Bureau of Land Management.

Please view the map of the project area below. Look for trails that exist but are not included on this map. You can include GPS tracks, images, maps, or any other data that may help your claim in your comment.

Kevin Allard
Author: Kevin Allard

Kevin is an American outdoorsman born and raised in rural Arizona who grew up exploring the Arizona backcountry with his father. Today, he and his son travel to the most remote regions of Arizona, scavenging for the remains of early western pioneers. As a lifelong outdoorsman, Kevin has learned to stick close to his roots while engaging in important advocacy work regarding motorized access to public lands. You can find his work in many local and nationwide publications, including The Western Journal, 4Low Magazine, and his website


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