Says BLM review still being done

To the Editor:

The front-page article in last week’s News Review entitled “BLM holds final local wilderness workshop” was misleading. The article conveyed the impression that the current BLM review of access routes is being done in order to reopen roads and trails previously closed to the public. This is not the case at all. In fact the opposite is true.

BLM is following a court order. The court found that the agencies “… did not comply with regulations mandating that the BLM consider various ‘minimization criteria’ when designating OHV routes.” Therefore, the court ordered the designation process redone with more public input (emphasis added).

This issue is contentious because many vocal offroad-vehicle users want open access to public lands while the Desert Protection Act attempts to protect desert lands from such haphazard human use.

I believe that the majority of people who enjoy the desert find that enjoyment in part because of the solitude and vastness of the natural desert. These people would, I believe, rather have fewer roads and trails open to quads and cross-country motorcycles rather than more roads or open areas for OHVs. To most people open areas like Jawbone Canyon, Dove Springs and Spangler Hills have been destroyed by open vehicle use and are no longer places to go to enjoy the desert. I believe people don’t want to see more of this in our desert.

It is important that people provide input to BLM during this public comment period. The previous route designation process was dominated by input from OHV interests. BLM needs to hear from everyone who enjoys the desert around us about routes that are needed and those that shouldn’t exist. The Ridgecrest BLM has forms for your input and maps to help you. Your input is important. It will be considered.

Dan Burnett

The News Review contacted BLM Ridgecrest Field Office Manager Carl Symons to find out whether previously closed roads would be reopened. He said that while the BLM cannot open wilderness areas protected by Congress, his office is reevaluating all current designations, and some previously closed could be opened, and vice versa, with that change in designation.

Story First Published: 2012-12-05