Travel Management Plans


  • September 20th, 2022

    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is accepting comments on a draft travel management plan for the iconic Labyrinth Canyon and Gemini Bridges area outside of Moab. The plan will determine where off-road vehicle (ORV) use is allowed in this remarkable landscape for decades to come, so public input is extremely important.

    Home to irreplaceable cultural and historic resources, critical wildlife habitat, and unmatched quiet recreational opportunities, the Labyrinth Canyon and Gemini Bridges region is a magnificent area of Utah’s backcountry. The BLM’s travel plan will have a long-lasting impact on the future of this region by determining where ORVs will be able to travel and what areas will be managed for the protection of wildlife, solitude, cultural values, and non-motorized recreation.

    Click here to tell the BLM to keep motorized trails out of Labyrinth Canyon!

    Kayaker on the Green River in Labyrinth Canyon. © James Kay

    Labyrinth Canyon is a gem of the American West, where the placid Green River flows for more than 40 miles past towering canyon walls. This stretch of river provides an unparalleled multi-day wilderness experience for boaters of all ages and experience levels. It is also a designated Wild and Scenic River, noted for its outstanding recreational, scenic, ecological, and cultural values.

    Thanks to the previous efforts of SUWA supporters like you, the west side of Labyrinth Canyon is already protected as congressionally-designated wilderness. But the eastern side of the river is not yet similarly protected—meaning that the solitude and serenity of Labyrinth Canyon can be shattered in an instant by ORVs tearing up and down the river bank.

    Tell the BLM to keep motorized trails out of Labyrinth Canyon’s river corridor, wildlife habitat, cultural sites, and other sensitive or inappropriate areas.

    Currently, the Labyrinth Canyon and Gemini Bridges area is blanketed with over 1,200 miles of ORV routes. More than 94% of the land within the Labyrinth Canyon and Gemini Bridges area is within a half mile of a designated ORV route and less than 0.5% of the land is more than a mile from a designated route. This route density means there are few places to escape the whine of motorized vehicles—even when floating in Labyrinth Canyon.

    The BLM has released four alternatives for the future of Labyrinth Canyon and Gemini Bridges. It is vital that the BLM hear overwhelming public support for Alternative B. Alternative B would finally protect the entire Labyrinth Canyon river corridor while reducing route density in spectacular areas like Gold Bar Rim, Deadman Point, Day Canyon, and Ten Mile Point.

    Alternative B is the only option that protects Labyrinth Canyon and balances motorized recreation with the protection of natural and cultural resources and non-motorized recreation.

    Tell the BLM to keep motorized trails out of the Labyrinth Canyon river corridor and other sensitive or inappropriate areas in the Labyrinth Canyon and Gemini Bridges region.

    The most helpful comments discuss specific trails (identified by name or number); how you enjoy hiking, camping and other non-motorized pursuits in the area; and how motorized use in these places has conflicted with your particular use or enjoyment.

    The BLM is accepting comments through October 7, 2022. Be sure to make your voice heard.

    Do you know Labyrinth Canyon especially well?
    Comments that draw from first-hand knowledge and experiences on the river are the most effective. If you have a personal affinity for Labyrinth Canyon and know the area well, you may want to submit your comments directly through the BLM comment portal. Send an email to issues-action@suwa.org and we’ll be happy to help guide you through the process.

  • March 18th, 2022

    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is developing a motorized travel management plan for the greater Paunsaugunt area near Kanab, located just west of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and south of Bryce Canyon National Park. The plan will determine where off-road vehicle (ORV) use is allowed in this incredible place for decades to come.

    Check out our latest story map below to learn more, then take action by submitting comments to the BLM by the March 25th deadline.

    Click image to view story map.

  • March 17th, 2022

    How do we balance off-road vehicle use with the critical need to protect southern Utah’s redrock wilderness?

    Anyone who visits southern Utah will inevitably hear the whine of off-road vehicles (ORVs) and see how their use has scarred the landscape. In southern Utah especially, the recent exponential growth of ORV recreation has led to stream erosion and water pollution, dust and soil erosion, destruction of wildlife habitat, damage to archaeological sites and cultural resources, and increased conflicts between public land users.

    Travel management is one tool that can help us to take part in the creation of thoughtful, balanced plans that provide access– not excess– when it comes to off-road vehicle use and mitigate impacts to wilderness. Tune in to hear all about it (including how you can take action right now!) from SUWA’s ORV Policy Fellow, Kelsey Cruickshank.

     

     

     

    Take action after this episode!

    Comment now on the scoping plans for Paunsaugunt (Kanab, UT) travel management area!

    Sign up to receive action alerts from SUWA so you can participate in upcoming comment periods for ORV use on Utah’s public lands!

     

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    Theme music is by Haley Noel Austin, with interlude music by Larry Pattis.
    Dave Pacheco is the host of Wild Utah.
    Post studio production and editing is by Laura Borichevsky.
    A transcript of this episode can be found here.

  • March 16th, 2022

    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is developing a motorized travel management plan for the greater Paunsaugunt area outside of Kanab—a plan that will determine where off-road vehicle (ORV) use is allowed in this incredible place for decades to come.

    Just west of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and south of Bryce Canyon National Park, the Paunsaugunt travel management area encompasses roughly 200,000 acres of BLM-managed lands. The diverse character of the area, from lava flows and sand dunes to ponderosa pine forests and thousand-foot-high cliffs, provides spectacular opportunities for quiet recreation. The region also encompasses significant cultural sites and important wildlife habitat.

    The BLM is currently in the “scoping” phase of its travel planning process, which identifies issues the agency must consider. It is vital that the BLM hears from the public that the current route network is not acceptable, and that the number and mileage of motorized routes must be reduced to minimize damage and protect public land resources.

    Click here to submit your comments to the BLM today.

    Upper Kanab Creek proposed wilderness. © Ray Bloxham/SUWA

    Federal law requires the BLM to minimize impacts to natural and cultural resources when designating motorized vehicle routes. The agency’s current travel plan—pushed through in 2008 during the waning days of the George W. Bush administration—blanketed the area with ORV routes, prioritizing motorized recreation at the expense of all other public land users. It also designated routes that travel directly through cultural sites, fragment wildlife habitat, and damage wilderness-caliber public lands.

    The BLM should ensure access to trailheads, scenic overlooks, and recreation opportunities, but it must also protect the very reason people want to drive to such remote places: to enjoy their unspoiled beauty.

    Tell the BLM to fulfill its legal obligation and keep motorized trails out of wildlife habitat, cultural sites, and proposed wilderness in the Paunsaugunt region.

    The most helpful comments will mention specific areas or trails (by name or number); explain how you enjoy hiking, camping, and other non-motorized pursuits in these areas; and discuss (if appropriate) how motorized use has disrupted your enjoyment of those activities.

    The BLM is accepting comments through March 25, 2022. Be sure to make your voice heard!

    Thank you for taking action!

  • June 29th, 2021

    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is developing a travel management plan for the remote Book Cliffs area in Uintah and northern Grand Counties—a plan that will determine where off-road vehicle (ORV) use is allowed in this stunning area for decades to come.

    Tell the BLM to keep motorized trails out of sensitive areas in the Book Cliffs region.

    Wilderness-quality lands in the White River area, © Ray Bloxham/SUWA

    The Book Cliffs travel management area encompasses more than 602,000 acres of BLM-managed public lands in east-central Utah, including the Winter Ridge Wilderness Study Area and wilderness-quality lands around the White River, Bitter Creek, and Hideout Canyon. The region offers fantastic opportunities for camping, hiking, photography, wildlife watching, and backcountry hunting. Large herds of Rocky Mountain elk and mule deer thrive in this wild landscape that is also home to pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, mountain lion, and black bear. Reflecting thousands of years of human history, the Book Cliffs region also contains irreplaceable cultural and historic resources.

    Federal law requires the BLM to minimize impacts to natural and cultural resources when designating motorized vehicle routes. The agency’s current Book Cliffs travel plan—one of several pushed through at the end of the George W. Bush administration—blanketed the area with ORV routes, prioritizing motorized vehicle use at the expense of preserving important wildlife habitat and cultural sites.

    SUWA and our partners challenged these Bush-era plans in court as unlawful and won. That decision and a subsequent settlement agreement sent the BLM back to the drawing board to prepare 13 new travel plans, including in the Book Cliffs. Despite this, the BLM is now considering designating over seven hundred miles of new routes in the Book Cliffs Travel Management Area, on top of those designated in 2008. Inundating the Book Cliffs with motorized vehicle routes would further fragment vital wildlife habitat and damage irreplaceable cultural resources.

    Tell the BLM to fulfill its legal obligation and keep motorized trails out of wildlife habitat, cultural sites, and wilderness-quality lands in the Book Cliffs region.

    Bitter Creek proposed wilderness, © Ray Bloxham/SUWA

    The BLM is currently in the initial “scoping” phase of its travel planning process, which identifies issues the agency must consider. It is vital that the agency hears from the public that blanketing the Book Cliffs area with new motorized routes is unacceptable. Instead, the BLM must prioritize reducing the total miles of trail open to ORVs to protect these public lands for decades to come.

    The most helpful comments will mention specific trails (by name or number) or areas; how you enjoy hiking, camping, wildlife watching and other non-motorized pursuits in the area; and that motorized use has already, or will in the future (if new trails are designated), conflict with your enjoyment of these public lands.

    The BLM is accepting comments through July 8, 2021. Click here to make your voice heard.

    If you prefer to email the agency directly, the address for scoping comments is BLM_UT_Vernal_Comments@blm.gov

    Thank you for taking action!