Court Rejects Motorized Groups’ Efforts to Block BLM Travel Management Plan for Labyrinth Canyon/Gemini Bridges – 3.20.24

Mar 20th, 2024 Written by suwa

March 20, 2024

Court Rejects Motorized Groups’ Efforts to Block BLM Travel Management Plan for Labyrinth Canyon/Gemini Bridges – 3.20.24 

Stephen Bloch, Legal Director, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA); (801) 428-3981;
Grant Stevens, Communications Director, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA); (319) 427-0260;

Salt Lake City, UT – Today, a federal court rejected an effort by motorized groups to block implementation of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) motorized vehicle Travel Management Plan for the greater Labyrinth Canyon area. These groups were seeking an emergency injunction in a federal lawsuit; that case will now proceed on its merits with briefing and argument later in 2024. Below is a statement from SUWA Legal Director Stephen Bloch and additional information. 

“We’re pleased the Court has rejected this effort by motorized groups to prevent BLM from implementing the Labyrinth Rims/Gemini Bridges travel management plan. BLM’s plan takes a balanced approach to managing recreation in this popular area; one that protects the stunning Labyrinth Canyon river corridor and side canyons while leaving thousands of miles of dirt roads and trails open to motorized use. SUWA is confident that the plan will withstand additional scrutiny and we will continue to work to defend BLM’s decision.”  –  Stephen Bloch, SUWA Legal Director.

Additional information: 

On September 28, BLM released the final Labyrinth Rims and Gemini Bridges travel management plan. 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 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. 

Following a failed attempt (Nov. 2023) by the BlueRibbon Coalition and others to administratively stay implementation of the BLM Plan, motorized recreation groups challenged the plan in Federal District Court in Utah (Dec. 2023). During a Feb. 21, 2023 hearing motorized groups sought an emergency injunction, arguing against BLM’s approval of the Plan and seeking to stop its implementation. Attorneys from the United States Department of Justice and SUWA (who has intervened in the case) defended the Plan. 

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 three 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 Dirty Devil. Read more about SUWA’s litigation to ensure these travel plans follow federal laws to protect public lands and resources.