Resource Management Plans
In its waning hours, the Bush administration put the spectacular redrock lands of southern Utah on the chopping block, cementing its legacy of rolling back protections on public lands, increasing oil and gas drilling at all costs, and catering to the single-minded demands of off-road vehicle (ORV) enthusiasts. After seven years in the making and millions of dollars paid to contractors, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released six Resource Management Plans (RMPs) that now dictate how 11 million acres of iconic canyon country will be managed for the next two decades (to learn more about the areas affected, click on any of the field offices above). At stake are some of the state’s most stunning landscapes—places like Desolation Canyon, the Book Cliffs, Fisher Towers, the San Rafael Swell, Parunuweap Canyon, Indian Creek, and many more.
One of the most high profile consequences of the BLM’s rushed planning effort in Utah was the controversial December 2008 lease sale, which threatened scenic landscapes near several national parks and put more than 100,000 acres of wilderness at risk. Equally insidious, though less reported on, is the fact that along with its approval of the six RMPs, the BLM also approved travel plans for each field office. These travel plans designated specific trails as open to motorized vehicle use (e.g. ORVs) on some of the state’s most sensitive public lands.
With the Obama administration, we have an opportunity to revisit and hopefully reverse these terrible planning decisions before it's too late.
Editorials Blast BLM Plans:
Washington Post Op-Ed: Saving the Desert Southwest, 10/18/08
Salt Lake Tribune Editorials: