Thanks, BLM, for Labyrinth Canyon travel plan

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Thanks, BLM, for Labyrinth Canyon travel plan

Date: 03/05/2024     Category: News & Media     Author: Wayne Hoskisson     Publication: The Times-Independent    

Original Post ➡️


The Feb. 8 edition of The Times-Independent included an article with the line, “It’s painful to be discriminated against … because people have a stereotype of what off-roaders are or do.”  (“Moab’s off-road community reflects on change and responsibility,” The Times-Independent, Feb. 8.)

Under the BLM’s new travel management plan, the roads along Labyrinth Canyon’s Bowknot Bend, pictured here, would be almost entirely closed. Photo courtesy EcoFlight

As a Moab resident who supports the Bureau of Land Management’s new travel management plan for the Labyrinth Canyons, I can see no discrimination — just a better attempt at balancing recreational uses. You only have to spend a short time in and around Moab to understand why the public can have such a negative perception of OHV users: the sight and sound of these vehicles dominates the landscape at all hours of the day.

For years off-road vehicle users have received preferential treatment from agencies like the BLM, who have bent over backwards to allow motorized use to blanket red rock country. It’s laughable to paint BLM’s course correction in the Labyrinth plan as “discrimination.”

The BLM was required to revise the motorized travel plan because they failed to follow their own rules and guidance in their original travel plan.

The BLM’s plan for Labyrinth Canyon/Gemini Bridges closed 317 miles of OHV routes — leaving open over 800 miles in the planning area, thousands of miles in the larger Moab landscape, and tens of thousands statewide on federal public land (this excludes state and private land).

Just because you can’t drive your OHV to every overlook or along the banks of the Green River doesn’t mean that place goes away or that it has no value. Public lands are not intended just to be a motorized recreation playground.

They are, by law, required to serve multiple uses beyond just OHVs, including conservation, wildlife and quiet recreation. The noise, dust and damage from OHV use has been allowed to proliferate on public lands for decades and now a bit of balance is being restored.

Thanks to the BLM for taking a real step forward with the Labyrinth Canyon plan — one towards a better future for our public lands.

— Wayne Hoskisson