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Carbon-Emery County public land users

By Alan J. Peterson


I participated in a "field trip" to the Chimney Rock area recently. The outing was hosted by the Emery County Public Lands Council. I was an invited guest, along with members of the Emery County Public Lands Council, Price Field Office of BLM, Emery County officials and concerned members of the public. Fortunately, Wade Allinson and Scott Wheeler were there to keep the BLM employees on task.

What we learned is that BLM Recreation Specialist Kathryn Lloyd has taken on the enormous task of "ground proofing" every single trail and road that was designated "open to motorized use" through the 2008 Resource Management Plan. Kathryn and Tom Gnojek are looking for errors that need to be corrected. We (Wheels, Wade and I) found this just a bit odd.

Whereas the RMP is a legal document that designated routes for motorized use and took more than five years to do it. Interestingly enough, they seem to only be worried about "errors" that may have designated routes/roads/trails as "open" and don't seem to be concerned about "errors" that disallowed worthy routes/roads/trails.

Also, dispersed camping is still a huge issue in the RMP that needs to be addressed.

If you enjoy motorized recreation in Carbon County or Emery need to get involved in this resurrected battle for the routes/roads/trails that were designated as "open to motorized use. If you own a 4x4, UTV, ATV, dirtbike or mountainbike, you need to get involved. If you camp, you need to get involved. If you hunt, you need to get involved. If you drive a car or truck to your favorite hiking trail, you need to get involved.

We're all for accuracy and have pleaded with Price BLM for years to correct bad data. But, we've been told by three previous field office managers that nothing can be done without going through NEPA. Tom and Kathryn feel that they don't need to follow NEPA because they are just "correcting errors". That's exactly what we've been asking the BLM to do for years.

It seems to me that in order to correct an error that would "open" a route/road/trail, NEPA is required. But, to correct an error that would "close" an already designated route/road/trail, NEPA is not required.

Again, if you care then get involved.

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