Our View: Give BLM feedback

At Issue: BLM Resource Management Plan

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The Bureau of Land Management has a plan on the table that could radically change how public lands in Northwest Colorado are used.

Let's hope the public is paying close enough attention to make its voice heard before the plan takes effect.

The BLM is giving residents until May 16 to provide feedback on options for its Resource Management Plan, which will govern land use on 1.3 million acres in the region through 2020. The BLM has proposed four options for utilizing the land, but its preferred option would be a steep departure from present uses. The preferred option is called "Alternative C" and it would:

Reduce BLM land in Northwest Colorado that is fully open to off-highway vehicle use to 21,940 acres. OHV would be restricted to existing roads on the remaining BLM land. Currently, 991,920 acres are open to OHV use.

Close 839,940 acres in Northwest Colorado to snowmobiles. Presently, 46,080 acres are closed to snowmobiles.

Close 160,870 acres to oil and gas leasing. Currently, 78,190 acres are closed.

The other alternatives include:

Leaving things as they are. (Alternative A)

Opening all land to OHV use and keeping restrictions on oil and gas leasing to present limits. (Alternative B)

And closing all land to OHV use, oil and gas leasing and snowmobile use. (Alternative D)

BLM officials said it took about a year to put the alternatives together. If the BLM does not get significant feedback, it will move forward with Alternative C with hopes of finalizing the plan and having it in place by fall.

Obviously, there must be a balance between preservation of natural resources and recreational use on public lands. But as far as the alternatives presented go, we would lean toward leaving things as they are. We believe the current use plan has worked well in balancing demands on public lands in Northwest Colorado, and that restricting nearly 1 million acres of land for OHV and snowmobile use goes too far. The resulting impact on recreation-based tourism could be significant, and the plan would create enforcement issues.

But setting aside our stance, the most important thing for residents is to respond to the BLM's request for comments.

The draft Resource Management Plan is available on the Web at: www.co.blm.gov/lsra/rmp. Comments can be submitted on the Web site and via e-mail to team leader Jeremy Casterson at the Little Snake Field Office: colsrmp@blm.gov, by telephone at (970) 826-5000, or by mail at Bureau of Land Management, Little Snake Field Office, 455 Emerson St., Craig, CO 81625.

We appreciate the BLM's stewardship of its lands. But these are public lands and it's appropriate for the public to have a say in how they are used. With the BLM contemplating major change in those uses, take advantage of this opportunity to make your voice heard.

Comments

Scott Stanford 7 years, 1 month ago

The BLM preferred alternative would restrict restrict OHV use to existing roads on 991,000 acres; it would not close access entirely. The original editorial did not make that clear. The editorial has been modified and a correction will appear on Page 1 of Thursday's newspaper.

Scott Stanford Editor, Steamboat PIlot & Today (970) 871-4221/(970) 291-9278 editor@steamboatpilot.com

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katrinkakelly 7 years, 1 month ago

OPTION #A works for my family born and residing in ROUTT County for 37 years.

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JQPUBLIC 7 years, 1 month ago

kkkelly... can't have option A... when was the last time you saw the "second homers" and gov't agencies leave anything status quo? The motto.... If it ain't broke, fix it 'til it is!! Next they will be preserving public lands by closing them to public use, period.

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harlanx1 7 years, 1 month ago

why can't they just leave things along who are they to try to fix something thats not broke. what do they need money so they come up with these plans to spend our taxes what seems to be the problem here. I say option A

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nikobesti 7 years, 1 month ago

This editorial slaughtered the facts. I see that this on-line version is quite different from the one printed last week. Can't the editor cross-check the bullsh!t the Pilot reporter supposedly got from the BLM public meeting in Steamboat? Obviously that reporter did not watch the presentation or pick up any of the handout materials. You say Alternative D closes "all land" to OHV, oil and gas and snowmobiles. WHAT? Check out the fact sheet at: http://www.co.blm.gov/lsra/rmp/documents/TravelManagement.pdf. Says here that only 289,000 acres are closed to OHVs, or 22% of the 1.3 million BLM acres. 14% of federal minerals are closed to oil and gas. Is this "all land?" Finally, in the printed version, the Pilot says that BLM will close nearly 1 million acres to OHVs in Alternative C. Uh, it's more like 86,700, or 7% of the BLM land. This is changed to "restricted" in the on-line version. The error must have been caught. BLM is proposing to limit OHV travel to existing routes, only closing 13,000 more acres than what is currently off limits. This is a HUGE difference. I respect your opinion if you believe that closing 13,000 more acres and asking OHVs to stay on the trails is too restrictive. But BLM is not closing million acres to OHVs. Get the facts straight so we as the public can draft good comment letters to the BLM. How embarrassing for the Pilot. And the editorial board says they'll print a correction. I read the pilot every day and there was NO correction.

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ranch76 7 years, 1 month ago

We have already lost many, many acres of public land due to the Emerald Mt. deal. Leave it alone!

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natv63 7 years, 1 month ago

The elderly and the handicapped like public land as much as anyone. My wife and I along with our parents and grand parents have lived here for close to a 100 years. I've never seen them add much public land it's always take or limit it's use so only the blm or forest service employee's can enjoy it. I've seen so much country closed down over the years it scares me. They graveled miles of roads up hunt creek under the flat tops at the tax payers expense and every road has a green gate across it. The public has never been able to use it. Fight like hell to keep "our " public lands public and don't let them limit it's use. They too will be old or crippled someday and won't be able to drive to see it.

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ArmPump 7 years, 1 month ago

Public land means for ALL the public, dirtbikers and off-roaders included. My tax dollars go to maintain that land, why can't I use it? Preserve it for the public USE, not prevent the public from accessing it.

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mojoscojo 7 years, 1 month ago

"Alternative C" is the preferred alternative? Why? What is wrong with the way it is? Where is the justification? We can't keep closing down public lands for no good reason. I'm with the post above. Public land means for ALL the public, OHV's of all sorts as well as other forms of recreational access. Alternative's C and D are not alternatives at all without proper justification. All I see is "reduce the impact". What exactly does that mean? Restricting where OHV's can go will will only focus and intensify their impact in my opinion.

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lewisclan 7 years, 1 month ago

Public land means for ALL the public, dirtbikers and off-roaders included. My tax dollars go to maintain that land, why can't I use it? Preserve it for the public USE, not prevent the public from accessing it.

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Hadleyburg_Press 7 years, 1 month ago

lewisclan, My hobby is gold "hunting". I like to use the hydraulic method for maximum extraction. Just a small one man operation for a member of the tax paying public. I don't use any harmful leaching agents, so no toxic waste is introduced. I also never find enough to qualify it as a business. Okay by you right, since all I will leave are a few minor scars here and there as I go about my way? And of course I will use my trusty Jeep to get to the "secret" prime locations!

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EdColclaure 7 years ago

Please limit the closure of yet more public lands. These lands are our heritage. We are taxed dearly to "maintain" them, yet we are afforded less and less access every year. ORV users in particular have lost out big time. We are the only user group who is assessed a fee to use public lands. $15.25 per vehicle per year with ZERO accountability as to where the money is spent and the reward is greatly decreased access to these lands. I am all for responsible motorized use, but these continued closures are not right. Closure is not the best management practice.

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ellett 7 years ago

As an OHV user, I find it incredible that I'm compared to strip miners and clear-cutters. There is a big difference between recreation and exploitation.

Closing public lands to the tax paying public (who provide the funding to manage those lands) goes against the ideas that founded this country.

I'd like to see areas that are currently closed, re-opened.

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JQPUBLIC 7 years ago

I do not want to see any more public land closed to public use but I would like to see some kind of control over some of the idiotic OHV users. There is nothing worse than hiking for an hour with pack and rifle to get to a hunting spot only to have idiots on OHV's rev past you just before daylight. I cannot understand how they can get those machines in some of the places that they do but it has happened to me twice, different areas and different seasons. People like this that have no respect for the land or the other users is why there are people that want to close public land to motors. Alas.. how do you teach common sense and respect when the parents failed or refused to do so.

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