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Utah Travel Headlines

Friday, December 28, 2012

Courts Will Decide Access And Best Use Of Pristine BLM Land In Utah

The fight over development of "wilderness quality" BLM land in southern Utah is heating up again, with several groups suing in an effort to prevent BLM from allowing off-road vehicle travel and energy development on iconic lands in south-central Utah.

Members of the public are involved on both sides of the fight, which could have profound impact on future recreational opportunities.

The Deseret News has this article about the battle, which centers on federal land between Capitol Reef National Park and the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The area in question includes landmarks like the Factory Butte, portions of the Henry Mountains and some of the Dirty Devil River Canyon.

Below are excerpts from the article:

Environmental groups assert the plan allows off-highway vehicle use on 1.9 million of those acres, routes detailed only in “cryptic spreadsheets,” with discussion of the harmful effects ranging from “skeletal to nonexistent.”

Routes include 400 stream crossings, yet the federal agency did not detail any impacts to water quality, ignored soil erosion that can result or the air pollution caused the machines, the environmental groups contend.

First adopted in 2008, the plan is one of several in Utah under assault by the groups in litigation that will finally get its day in court with a hearing set for July before Judge Dale Kimball.

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