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.
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