Thanks for asking. Many variables come into play here. In general, we have two major issues and both of them are related.
First off, the federal government is out of control and ignoring its own regulations and agency policy manual. These roads are property rights of the state under long-standing federal law and agency regulation stemming from section 8 of the Mining Act of 1866. Simply put, the federal government is acting like a bad neighbor who locked the gate on a road used to access your property. The only option is to file a civil suit for injunctive relief, get the county sheriff to cut the lock, or cut the lock yourself. Or better yet, deregulate Federal agencies to end the Travel Management process.
Federal Land managers have set a standard over the past 20-plus years that ignores states’ rights. The state and county should be taking action.
The second problem is lawless actions by the public. It’s a common misunderstanding that people are causing closures. The fact is, the Travel Management planning process is written into federal regulation as a mechanism used to accomplish the goals mandated by other federal laws. The process is used to allegedly “protect” endangered species, wetland habitats, riparian areas, roadless areas, recommended wilderness areas, and so on. However, Federal law, federal regulation, agency policy manuals, and hundreds of court cases, make the travel management process only applicable to roads constructed after October of 1976.
We cannot deny there are real problems. Open access comes with responsibility. The community and established clubs can only do so much to change how people act. In our opinion, motorized use advocates have mistakenly put law enforcement responsibilities on federal agencies where no constitutional authority exists. While doing so, we have pushed aside local law enforcement who have the legal authority to enforce state law. We NEED Sheriffs departments to start enforcing state law along our backroads and in popular areas on public lands. They are the answer to 90% of the argument. Currently, each county only has a handful of deputies dedicated to patrolling public lands in their jurisdiction.
If we could get 20 sheriff deputies in each county to focus on these issues, it would protect the interest of the federal government (environment) and the interest of the state, and therefore, We The People.
I don’t believe the problem warrants the closure of thousands of miles of roads. These roads should be governed no differently that any other county highway under the long-standing highway right of way established under Section 8 of the Mining Act of 1866. ARS 37-931 gives counties authority over roads on federal lands. Therefore, the 4×4 community should focus its efforts on engaging the County Sheriff and allocating state funding to county sheriff’s departments.
By relying on the Federal Government to stop these issues, we are justifying authority the federal government doesn’t have. Roads over public lands are a state issue under the long-standing principles established by Section 8 of the Mining Act of 1866. Federal law, federal regulation, agency policy manuals, hundreds of court cases, and documented rulemaking processes in the federal register, recognize this fact.
I agree! That’s why we need to make sure local law enforcement is enforcing state law in problem areas. We should be demanding that additional funding be set aside to hire and equip LEOs with the tools they need. Luckily, people are starting to go to jail, and about 60 million was just allocated to county Sheriffs by the Legislature.
I agree! Please follow the Read More button and voice your opinion and share with your friends!
The Wildlands Project never left. Its been here all along, and we fight against it every day!
Be aware, as mentioned above, the Navajo Nation section is closed until further notice. I would not recommend starting at the Utah line and consider starting just South of the Navajo Nation reservation.
Oh, shoot! I’ll fix that asap. It looks like the KML is working but not the GPX.
No matter where you’re at in the western US, there are efforts to harm the industry somehow. It’s a shame, but if we all stick together, there is no way we will lose any more. Hopefully, the city and county will reconsider these changes if enough people put pressure on them.
There are many people who represent the residents of Utah. City, county, and state. CALL THEM ALL!
The way I see it is the county and city need to follow the Utah state law. To ignore the law and do what they want is unconstitutional. The Utah state legislature made the law on behalf of their constituents. That is local control. Everyone is willing to work with the county and city to help reduce noise and solve any issues. But these officials are overstepping their constitutional power, and Blue Ribbon has every right to challenge it.
As far as the stance on the UTV community, that is extremely counterproductive. That attitude is fracturing our community. There are disrespectful, destructive users in every group. SxS users are a part of the offroad community, just like you and me.
Denouncing them is not the answer when they are the majority in the offroad community. They have everything to do with the public perception of our community, policy-making decisions, and economic impact on places like Moab.
Instead of having this attitude, we need to focus on education. We all were noobs at one time, and we all get a little rowdy now and then. I ask you to please reconsider your thoughts on SxS users; they’re not all bad people.