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.

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.

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.”

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.

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!

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.

Remember the current deadline for comments on the DEIS is June 4, 2015.

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.