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Natural Resources Report for November 2023

| Rose Winn, Cal4wheel Natural Resources Consultant | Natural Resources Consultant Reports

BLM NORTHWEST CALIFORNIA INTEGRATED PLAN DRAFT EIS

 

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is in the process of drafting a northwest California resource management plan and environmental impact statement, announced in late September. The Plan will impact 382,200 acres of BLM managed land in Del Norte, Siskiyou, Shasta, Humboldt, Mendocino, Trinity, Tehama and Butte counties. BLM will host a virtual public meeting to provide a forum for the public to learn more and answer questions about the draft plan and environmental analysis.

The virtual meeting will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 1 to 3 p.m. PST: Register via Zoom.

In addition, the BLM is providing a web-based, interactive story map to help the public understand how the proposed plan addresses specific public land and natural resource topics.

Public comments on the draft plan and EIS may be submitted through December 28 via email to BLM_CA_Redding_Arcata_NCIP@blm.gov, online at BLM NEPA Register, hand delivered, or mailed to the BLM Arcata Field Office at 1695 Heindon Road, Arcata, CA, 95521-4573.

 

 

SUPPORT THE BILL TO STOP MOAB ROAD CLOSURES

 

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently announced closure of 317 miles of OHV roads near Moab, Utah via finalization of the Labyrinth Rims & Gemini Bridges Travel Management Plan (TMP). Cal4Wheel submitted a letter of opposition to the closure during the public comment period in October 2022. Read the letter here: https://bit.ly/cal4-moab-comments

A portion of the 317 miles of closed routes is comprised of 114 miles of RS2477 rights of way (ROW). Cal4Wheel supports the “Historic Roadways Protection Act” (S. 3148/H.R. 6396) from U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rep. John Curtis (R-UT) that would prevent the BLM from using federal funds to close any of the 114 miles of R.S. 2477 ROW roads covered in the TMP, or to finalize and implement the specified TMPs until all legal actions have been resolved (R.S. 2477 roads are protected by Section 701 of the Federal Lands Policy Management Act).

In 2008, the BLM updated Utah’s resource management plans (RMP) and TMPs as required by FLPMA to ensure public lands are being effectively managed. Unhappy with the BLM’s first attempts at updated TMPs, several off-road groups filed lawsuits to challenge the agency’s plans. In 2017, a settlement was reached that required the BLM to revise 13 TMPs. In 2022, the BLM published four TMPs for the greater Moab recreation area. Similarly to Cal4Wheel, SEMA submitted a comment opposing the three proposed scenarios that would limit motorized access. SEMA is now advocating for the Historic Roadways Protection Act, and working with the Off-Road Businesses Association and Ecologic Partners to file an administrative appeal of the BLM’s decision.

Please join in this effort by asking your members of Congress to protect motorized access to the Labyrinth Rims Gemini Bridges area by supporting the Historic Roadways Protection Act.

 

Use this link to submit a letter to your representatives in Congress today!

 

 

PROPOSED CHUCKWALLA NATIONAL MONUMENT GAINING STEAM

 

The monument would nearly double the amount of federally protected desert landscape in the area north and east of the Coachella Valley. At 660,000 acres, the Chuckwalla National Monument would rival the roughly 800,000-acre Joshua Tree National Park in size. The Chuckwalla National Monument, proposed by U.S. Rep. Raul Ruiz and named for the large lizard found in the desert region was first announced by a coalition of environmental groups last year. It would hug Joshua Tree National Park’s southern boundary, stretching along Interstate 10 from the edge of the eastern Coachella Valley all the way to the Colorado River. The proposed monument is nearly 700,000 acres, and would include land in both Riverside and Imperial counties. For more information, check out these recent articles highlighting efforts to push the proposed monument to official designation:

 

 

CAL4WHEEL SUBMITS COMMENTS TO SUPPORT TAHOE BASIN WIDE TRAILS ANALYSIS PROJECT

On October 28, 2023, Cal4Wheel submitted a letter of comment to support the Basin Wide Trails Analysis project for the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit of the US Forest Service. The focus of this project is to modify trail designations for e-bike access. The prospect of changing trail designations for e-bike access raised alarm bells among many in the OHV community when the Draft EA was released. After reading through the full plan, however, there wasn't any evidence of negative impact on 4x4 OHV routes. The plan itself attempts positive solutions to prevent potential user conflicts by:

  • Changing trail designations for a selection of non-motorized routes to add e-bike usage
  • Creating new trails for e-bikes
  • Creating new single-track motorcycle routes that will include e-bikes as a designated use.

A comment of support for the plan was submitted to ensure that Cal4Wheel has a seat at the table during Objection Resolution, in case something of concern could later arise from sources of OHV opposition during that phase of planning.

Additionally, Cal4Wheel offered the ongoing support of club membership as volunteers to support the success of trail creation and trail maintenance needs.

Read the Comment letter: https://bit.ly/Support-Tahoe-Basin-Trails

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