November 28, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Appeals Board Denies Attempt by State of Utah, Others to Delay New BLM Plan
Labyrinth Canyon/Gemini Bridges Travel Plan Now In Effect
Laura Peterson, Staff Attorney, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA); (801) 236-3762; (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Grant Stevens, Communications Director, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA); (319) 427-0260 (email@example.com)
Salt Lake City, UT – Today, an administrative appeals board rejected three Petitions that sought to delay implementation of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Labyrinth Rims/Gemini Bridges Travel Management Plan Decision. The Petitions were filed by the state of Utah and several motorized recreation groups. The BLM’s final motorized vehicle travel management plan for the world-renowned Labyrinth Canyon and Gemini Bridges area near Moab in Grand County, Utah is now in full effect. Below is a statement from SUWA Staff Attorney Laura Peterson and additional information.
“We look forward to seeing the BLM begin to implement its balanced travel planning decision in the Labyrinth Canyon and Gemini Bridges area,” said Laura Peterson, SUWA Staff Attorney. “The BLM’s plan takes a thoughtful approach to managing recreation in this popular area; one that will protect the stunning Labyrinth Canyon river corridor and critically important riparian ecosystem while leaving thousands of miles of dirt roads and trails open to motorized use in the greater Moab area. As the appeals move forward, SUWA is confident the plan will withstand scrutiny and has moved to intervene to defend BLM’s decision.”
On September 28, BLM released the final Labyrinth Canyon and Gemini Bridges travel management plan. The state of Utah and motorized recreation groups have appealed that plan to the Interior Board of Land Appeals, an administrative appeals board within the Interior Department. The state and some of the motorized groups also asked the Board to “stay” implementation of the plan until their appeals are fully decided. With the Board’s rejection of those stay requests, the Labyrinth Canyon and Gemini Bridges travel plan decision is now in full effect while the appeals proceed.
SUWA’ s press release, BLM Releases Plan that Finally Protects Labyrinth Canyon and Surrounding Public Lands : New travel plan will balance motorized and non-motorized recreation, contains additional background. The new plan will guide land management decisions on a 300,000-acre landscape for years to come – protecting cultural sites, riparian habitat, and the experience of non-motorized recreationists while allowing for motorized recreation on more than 800 miles of dirt trails and routes.
The Labyrinth Canyon travel plan is one of 11 travel plans the BLM is completing over the next few years as part of a court-supervised settlement agreement between the agency, conservation and ORV groups. Covering more than 6 million acres of BLM-managed lands in eastern and southern Utah, these plans will determine where motorized vehicles will be allowed on some of Utah’s wildest public lands. To date, the BLM has completed two of the 11 plans and is currently working on new plans for some of Utah’s most beloved landscapes, including the San Rafael Swell and the Henry Mountains. Read more about SUWA’s litigation to ensure these travel plans follow federal laws to protect public lands and resources.