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Access Alert: Recreational Access will be in danger if this action isn't supported.

At Issue:

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Gale Norton's Interior Dept. is proposing enforcing a federal regulation, RS2477. If it succeeds, the agency will be returning to the states the right to the local management of lands which have been historically used by cyclists and other outdoors enthusiasts for recreation. Also, this proposal could open up rights-of-way that have been closed to use in recent years by previous access-exclusionist land grabs. The proposal will allow the federal government and states to recognize trails, roads and tracks that make up some of these lands and manage them accordingly, hopefully with appropriate responsible access in mind.

The BLM's proposal emerges from negotiations between the BLM and the State of Utah over disputed ownership of lands in that state. Utah has asserted ownership of some 10,000 individual tracks, trails, paths, and portions of streambeds of varying lengths crisscrossing federal, state and public land. They include lands proposed for wilderness designation in the Red Rock Wilderness Act.

In many of the western states including California, Alaska, Utah, Oregon, Montana and others responsible user access could be greatly enhanced by passage of this proposed rule.

Why comment?

The Wilderness Advocates see this is a major threat to some of the most recent proposed Wilderness areas in their latest land grab. This rule could nullify some Wilderness proposals on lands that were historically used by responsible outdoors enthusiasts but now are in great jeopardy for user access. They have started mounting a letter writing campaign of which pro-access users need to counter aggressively.

What you can do:

Please send a letter (via email, fax or by snail mail) to the contacts listed at the bottom of this correspondence. Include in your comments to the BLM and Department of the Interior as to why you feel this proposed rule should pass. Some suggestions are listed below.

-- It should pass the proposed rule (67 FR 8216) that makes it easier to manage federal and state lands-including historical rights-of-way at the local level.

-- National Parks, National Forests and public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management are valuable public assets that should be managed with responsible access for all user groups in mind.

-- Enhanced responsible access for all user groups should be encouraged on routes that have previously and historically existed.

-- The BLM shouldn't allow minority special interest groups with user-exclusion in mind to dictate the way public land is managed at either the Federal or State level.

Sample Letter (please personalize):

Bureau of Land Management, Eastern States Office
7450 Boston Boulevard
Springfield, Virginia 22153
Attention: RIN 1004-AD50

Subject: AD50 - federal regulation, RS2477

I strongly support your proposed rule regarding R.S. 2477 claims, which would return state control of traditional right-of-way rights in wildlands in Utah, Alaska, and other western states. Your proposal would strengthen and return the traditional local right-of-way rights back to the states. I request that you support the proposed rule pertaining to recordable disclaimers of interest in land (RIN 1004-AD50).

The changes you propose would make it easier for states to reclaim and retain traditional rights-of-way as was intended by this 136 year old law. The BLM should be validating these claims through the expedited process the proposed rule seeks to engineer. The BLM should immediately return the right-of-way rights across public lands to the states.

National Parks, National Forests and public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management are valuable public assets that should be managed with responsible access for all user groups in mind. Returning state control of the right-of-way rights to the states would help accomplish this. Enhanced responsible access for all user groups should be encouraged on routes that have previously and historically existed. The traditional and historical rights-of-way should be managed by the states, counties, and other local government agencies that have a better understanding of the needs of the public.

Sincerely,

Send your letters to:

Mr. Jeff Holdren, BLM Lands and Realty Deputy Group Manager Bureau of Land Management

Ms. Cynthia Ellis, BLM Regulatory Affairs Group and the Office of the Solicitor.
Bureau of Land Management, Eastern States Office
7450 Boston Boulevard
Springfield, Virginia 22153
Attention: RIN 1004-AD50
Email: WOComment@blm.gov
(please use AD50 in the subject line of your email)
Fax: 202-653-5287

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