WEMO DEIS Extension - New Deadline Is January 2016 for Your Comments

Alliance for Responsible Recreation (ARR) Community Meeting, December 5th 2015

Due to an outpouring of comments and strategic negotiation by our legal team, the BLM has agreed to extend the comment period for the WEMO DEIS until January 2016. Desert residents are encouraged to gather information about problems with the proposed routes in their areas to submit to the BLM asking that the routes be eliminated. Refer to the WEMO DEIS maps on this web site.

Everyone is encouraged to attend our next community meeting on Saturday, December 5th in Joshua Tree.

More details to come.

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Desert Report - ADDING INSULT TO INJURY

BLM PROPOSES TO SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASE ORV ROUTES IN THE WESTERN MOJAVE

BY ILEENE ANDERSON AND PHIL KLASKY

In a move that has angered private property owners, conservationists, desert residents and visitors to the Western Mojave Desert, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is proposing to double the miles of off road vehicle (ORV) routes from 5,338 miles proposed in 2006 to 10,428 miles in the preferred alternative. Revision of the West Mojave Plan (WEMO), including its route designations, was required by a 2009 court order which found the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) failed to minimize impacts from off-road vehicle (ORV) routes to cultural and natural resources or to minimize conflicts with private property owners. The new proposal by the BLM ignores years of citizen effort to address ORV destruction of fragile desert landscapes and widespread trespass on private property.

The desert has suffered from years of ORV trespass on private and public lands causing damage to wildlife habitat, conservation areas including Desert Wildlife Management Areas (DWMAa), Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs), designated wilderness areas, public lands off-limits to motorized vehicles, Native American cultural resources and archeological sites, and private property. By its own admission, the BLM has been unable to protect the public lands under its management from illegal ORV activities.

Read the whole article here.

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UTAH COURT PROTECTS THOUSANDS OF ACRES OF SCENIC LAND FROM ATV, DIRT BIKE RIDERS

Read this article: UTAH COURT PROTECTS THOUSANDS OF ACRES OF SCENIC LAND FROM ATV, DIRT BIKE RIDERS

The fight to protect public lands from ORV use is wide-spread. Given our efforts to push back on the BLM re the current WEMO proposal it is great to see successful efforts elsewhere.

From the article:

"Thanks to Earthjustice litigation, the BLM must now conduct comprehensive environmental and cultural surveys before deciding whether to designate dirt roads and trails in this area for off-road vehicle use. Prior to the ruling, the BLM had set aside 4,200 miles of trails for these vehicles—almost enough for a round trip from Los Angeles to New York City—as part of their Richfield Resource Management Plan without following legal requirements to “minimize” impacts or survey for cultural sites.
...

“This important decision flatly rejects Utah BLM’s ‘designate trails first, think later’ approach to off-road vehicle management,” said Stephen Bloch, legal director for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. “Utah’s remarkable redrock landscapes demand better.”

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WEMO Comment Period Is Over - Let's Keep Working

Now that June 4 comment deadline is past let us reflect on how our community pulled together in an unprecedented way to submit comments. Thanks to everyone who has sent comments and to all who worked so hard to research issues and gather information. We will have to wait to see if the BLM provides an extension on the route designations.

Even though the comment period has ended there is action you can take.

Contact your local representatives from the county to the federal level about your concerns about the WEMO plan: Supervisor Ramos, Senators Feinstein and Boxer, Interior Secretary Jewell.

Write letters to the editor about you concerns.

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Morongo Basin MAC Resolution Opposing BLM Recommended WEMO Alternative

On May 11 the Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Committee passed a resolution opposing the BLM's preferred alternative in the WEMO DEIS.

You can read the resolution here.

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Send a copy of your BLM comments to Supervisor James Ramos

To increase the effectiveness of the comments we are making re the WEMO DEIS we urge you to also send a copy to Supervisor James Ramos.

Board of Supervisors - 3rd District
Supervisor James C. Ramos, Chairman
385 N. Arrowhead Avenue, 5th Floor
San Bernardino, CA 92415-0110 Telephone: (909) 387-4855
Fax: (909) 387-3018
SupervisorRamos@sbcounty.gov

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Additions to the WEMO Resource Center

The deadline for comments to the BLM re the WEMO DEIS is fast approaching. June 4 is the date. Please visit our WEMO DEIS Resource Center for excellent materials that you can use to write effective and detailed comment to the BLM.

Recent additions are great presentations from Pat Flanagan and Peggy Kennedy as well as detailed example comment letters for both the Wonder Valley and Copper Mountain Mesa areas.

Take action before the June 4th deadline!

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Presentation on WEMO DEIS by Pat Flanagan

Updated presentation.

This is an excellent and detailed presentation of the issues posed by the BLM's West Mojave Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Pat Flanagan presented this information to the Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council (MB MAC) on April 13, 2015.

The presentation exposes many issues in the flawed DEIS and the BLM's "recommended alternative" and should be reviewed as you prepare your comments to the BLM.

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BLM DEIS Public Meeting -- Wednesday, April 15th in Yucca Valley

It is important that we have a big showing for the BLM's public meeting about the WEMO DEIS plan to DOUBLE the mileage of ORV routes from over 5,000 to 10,000 miles.

• TELL THE BLM THAT NONE OF THEIR PROPOSED ALTERNATIVES ARE ACCEPTABLE
• TELL THE BLM TO ELIMINATE ALL ROUTES IN YOUR AREA

DATE AND LOCATION OF MEETING:
Wed., April 15, 2015, 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.: Yucca Valley Community Center Complex, Yucca Room, 57090 Twentynine Palms Highway, Yucca, Calif.

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BLM's West Mojave (WEMO) Plan Is Open for Comment

The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Western Mojave (WEMO) Travel Management Plan Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) is Open for Comment

COMMENT DEADLINE: June 4th, 2015

COMMENT NOW on the BLM’s Recommendation to DOUBLE the Amount of ORV Routes in the Western Mojave Desert

Desert resident and conservation groups sued the BLM in 2010 over its designation of over 5,000 miles of ORV routes because the routes encourage trespass on both private property and public land. The routes have been devastating to natural and cultural resources including Native American sacred sites, Desert Wildlife Management Areas (DWMA)s, critical habitat for endangered species including the Desert Tortoise, wilderness study areas, wildlife corridors, Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC)s, designated wilderness areas and public lands off-limits to motorized recreation, as well as private property.

Community ORV Watch believes that the new WEMO plan does not fulfill the court's order in the 2010 suit to minimize the WEMO route network. Rather, the BLM has proposed a plan to significantly increase desert lands available to off-road vehicles. We plan to vigorously respond to this plan, and will encourage others to respond to this terrible plan by providing the community with information and tools so that they will send informed comments to the BLM. We want to assure this ill-advised proposal does not go forward and if it does, the BLM will be once again vulnerable in court.

COW has provided copies of the maps of areas covered by the WEMO DEIS on our WEMO 2015 page. Go to the map of your area and identify those recommended routes that you want eliminated. Use the "Minimization Criteria" to critique the routes.

The WEMO DEIS web site is hard to access, navigate and the maps are difficult to view, are incomplete and inaccurate. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE and you may use these issues as part of your comments to the BLM.

COMMENT NOW:

  • Send the BLM an email, postcard or letter before June 4th asking that they extend the comment period for another 120 days since their web site is hard to access and user-unfriendly and the maps and difficult to download and are hard to read.
  • Tell the BLM that none of their four alternatives are acceptable and that they must offer other alternatives that dramatically reduce the number of routes.

    COMMENT NOW to force the BLM to extend the comment period and provide them with a list of specific routes that you want eliminated. Click on the WEMO tab for a sample letter, suggested comments, instructions on how to access maps of your area and the federal laws that mandate that the BLM minimize impacts on natural and cultural resources and conflicts with residents.

Access the BLM’s WEMO web site here.

FOR INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO COMMENT ON THE WEMO DEIS and more information please visit our WEMO site by clicking on the "WEMO 2015" tab at the top of this web site.

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