October 30, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Not Satisfied with Thousands of Miles of Dirt Roads and Trails Already Open to Motorized Use in the Moab Area, State of Utah and ORV Groups Appeal BLM Travel Management Plan for Labyrinth Canyon/Gemini Bridges
Steve Bloch, Legal Director, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA); (801) 859-1552 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Salt Lake City, UT – Today, the State of Utah and motorized recreation groups announced they have appealed the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) final motorized vehicle travel management plan for the world-renowned Labyrinth Canyon and Gemini Bridges area near Moab in Grand County, Utah. Below is a statement from SUWA Staff Attorney Laura Peterson and additional information.
“We are disappointed but not surprised that the BLM’s balanced decision in the Labyrinth Canyon/Gemini Bridges travel plan has been appealed. Unfortunately, there are some who will not be satisfied unless every inch of Utah’s public lands are blanketed with off-road vehicle routes, regardless of the damage these vehicles cause,” 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. SUWA is confident the plan will withstand scrutiny and intends to intervene to defend BLM’s decision.”
Additional information & resources:
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 (IBLA), an administrative review board within the Interior Department, and also asked the IBLA to “stay” implementation of the plan until their appeals are fully decided The Board has 45 days to rule on the requests to stay the 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 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.
- Moab Sun Times: “BLM releases final draft for Labyrinth/Gemini Bridges travel plan“
- High Country News: Public-land recreation management near Moab gets an overhaul
- Grand County Commissioners Letter re: Travel Management Plan
- Labyrinth Canyon Media Resources
- Storymap on the Labyrinth Rims/Gemini Bridges Travel Management Plan
- SUWA webpage on Travel Plans and Off-Road Vehicles
- 2-minute video: “The BLM is Planning the Future of Utah Wilderness”
- Wild Utah Podcast, Episode 34: Access Not Excess