Politics

Sen. Lee, state of Utah oppose BLM plan to close 317 miles of off-roading routes

“The BLM’s plan to close trails in this treasured region is completely unacceptable,” Gov. Spencer Cox said

UTAH – Sen. Mike Lee and the state of Utah have recently taken action to oppose the Bureau of Land Management’s plan to close 317 miles of off-roading routes near Moab and the Green River.

Lee recently introduced the Historic Roadways Protection Act, which comes as a response to the BLM’s recent decision. Lee argues that several of the closed routes have significant historical value.

The BLM’s Labyrinth Canyon and Gemini Bridges travel management plan seeks to close 317 miles of dirt trails and roads to recreational use near Moab. The plan closes over a quarter of public trails in the area along the Green River.

“These roads aren’t just pathways; they’re a testament to Utah’s rich history and the pioneers who shaped our state. It’s crucial that we ensure their protection for future generations,” Lee said.

In addition to Lee’s proposed legislation, the state of Utah and a pair of motorized recreation groups filed a notice of appeal to oppose the BLM’s Labyrinth Canyon and Gemini Bridges travel management plan.

In support of the notice of appeal filed by the state, Gov. Spencer Cox said the actions taken by the BLM are federal government overreach.

“The BLM’s plan to close trails in this treasured region is completely unacceptable. These are historic routes that have been used by the public for generations,” Cox said in a statement.

The new travel plan was enacted to reduce the impact that off-road vehicles have on the area and was advocated for by several environmental groups and the Grand County Commission.

Lee’s bill seeks to prohibit using federal money to enact new travel plans in Utah until all the historic road cases have been settled. Additionally, the proposed legislation would pause any previous plans by the BLM to change how these lands are used until the courts reach a decision on the old roads.

Utah preemptively filed an appeal and requested a stay with the Department of Interior’s Interior Board of Land Appeals, seeking to temporarily suspend the plan’s implementation while legal proceedings unfold.

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