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Greetings BRC members, supporters and Action Alert Subscribers,

The Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) Moab and Monticello Field Offices are preparing new Resource Management Plans and new Travel Management Plans. There isn't an activity occurring in these two field offices that won't be affected by these new plans.

BLM began this process back in 2003. During 2003 and 2004 the Moab BLM held meetings and received public comment on various planning issues.

Since that time the BLM has been working to formulate a range of management alternatives, each with a different theme or emphasis. BLM is set to release a Draft Resource Management Plan, Draft Comprehensive Travel Management Plan and the related Draft Environmental Impact Statement(s) (Draft EIS) in the summer of 2007.

The Moab BLM has given the public a 'sneak peak' at their proposed management alternatives. The information is available on the web at: BRC has reviewed the information and posted a brief analysis on our website. Just go to www.sharetrails.organd click the "Moab Update" button on the right.

Moab BLM is proposing drastic changes from traditional public land management!

BLM is proposing huge changes from what is currently allowed. Much of the proposed management is decidedly "Park-like." While some of the changes are needed, and BRC will be supporting the BLM on many of these, others are arbitrary and unnecessary.

Beginning sometime this summer, the BLM will move to a critically important stage in the process: the release of the Draft Plans and Draft EIS. There will be a limited public review and comment period in which all of the various stakeholder groups as well as the general public can submit comments and suggestions to the BLM.

Anti recreation groups such as the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) have staff to review the environmental analysis to find flaws that will nudge the final decision their way. Indeed, many stakeholders are paying for professional review of these documents in order to protect their interests. The OHV community must do this as well.

As always, funds for such an effort are limited. In order to raise funds for this important effort, BRC is initiating the "Moab Partnership" program.

Partners make a pledge of $10.00 per month or make a one-time Partnership donation of $120.00 to enroll for one year. Your donation is placed in a restricted account to be used for efforts related to the BLM's Moab and Monticello Field Office planning processes.

BRC's Moab Partners will receive the Moab Update, a special quarterly newsletter dedicated to the latest news on BLM's planning process. The Moab Update will keep you informed about how your donation is being used and is the best way to keep informed about potential changes in the Moab area. In addition, BRC's Moab Partners receive a limited edition "Moab Partner" T-Shirt and sticker combo. Check the details on BRC's Moab Partnership page:

Why is this so important?

Let me explain it this way; future recreational uses in the Moab area will depend on how the Final Resource Management Plan and Travel Plan are written. That's because these agency plans are open to interpretation and revision via appeal and litigation.

The best example I can give on this is the way BLM's preliminary alternatives are currently written. In the Bookcliffs Special Recreation Management Area (see Appendix F ) the Moab BLM has the management proscription as "primitive" in the administrative setting (no motorized and no mountain bikes allowed). But the travel plan shows roads and trails in the area and BLM admits some mountain bike trails may exist there. Which will hold sway when SUWA or some other radical group marches in to federal court to close a road? The answer depends on the way the document is written!

We are going to need a full team of legal professionals, NEPA experts and even biologists if we are going to stop the unfair and arbitrary closures. That will require a commitment from the very people who enjoy this wonderful area. This is why joining our Moab Partnership is so important.

I want to thank you in advance for your help. Together, we can keep this spectacular recreation destination open.

Brian Hawthorne
BlueRibbon Coalition
208-237-1008 ext 102
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