Washington County Proposed Wilderness, ACECs, and Recreation Management
Beyond the new wilderness areas and NCAs, there remain other lands proposed for wilderness in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act that have yet to receive the legislative protection they deserve. It is critical that BLM inventory these areas and preserve these finite wilderness resources.
In accordance with the Omnibus legislation, BLM is also soliciting nominations for priority biological Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs). These ACECs are areas where special management attention is required to protect plant and animal species and their habitat (see BLM’s ACEC fact sheet). Pursuant to federal law, BLM should also consider ACEC nominations for areas to protect “significant historic, cultural or scenic values.”
In addition, BLM’s planning process should include the designation of “recreation zones” throughout BLM lands in Washington County. Incorporating this zoning concept would prioritize certain uses in certain areas. The various zones would include: a “frontcountry zone” where most of the visitation would occur; a “passage zone” where travel routes would be used as passageways and recreation destinations; an “outback zone” that would offer an undeveloped and primitive visitor experience while also accommodating motorized travel on certain routes; and a “primitive zone” that would offer an undeveloped, primitive experience without motorized vehicle routes or access.
Like recreation zones, Special Recreation Management Areas (SRMAs) are another way to zone various uses into specific areas. SRMAs are areas where BLM should emphasize management of particular places for certain types of recreation, such as mountain biking or primitive backcountry hiking use.