“This extensive trail system offers OHV riders vast and diverse opportunities to ride and recreate on public lands in southeastern Utah,” said Utah BLM Director Juan Palma. “This expansion adds to more than 2,800 miles of existing trails and will help improve visitor access and safety and boost tourism in the area. I applaud the BLM team and San Juan County officials for studying the routes to ensure that recreation was an appropriate use of these public lands.”
For more than a year, an interdisciplinary team of BLM specialists in the Monticello Field Office worked with San Juan County representatives to further support motorized recreation and tourism in the area. The travel plan amendments approved today will enhance motorized recreation opportunities and visitor experiences in San Juan County by reducing highway safety conflicts and improved access and parking at popular cultural sites. Wildlife needs were also considered, with planned construction timed to avoid nesting and breeding periods for migratory birds and other animals.
The BLM recognizes the positive economic impact that motorized recreation on public lands has on communities throughout Utah and is committed to working with its many partners to support responsible OHV-use on BLM-managed lands. In recent years, nearly six million annual visitors recreating on Utah’s public lands have boosted local economies and community job growth through recreation tourism; in 2012, recreation on BLM-managed lands in Utah provided $490 million in local and national economic benefits.
The environmental assessment, including maps of the routes, contains the analysis used to reach today’s decision. The decision rationale is outlined in the Finding of No Significant Impact and Decision Record which are available on the Environmental Notification Bulletin Board at: https://www.blm.gov/ut/enbb/index.php (search for project name “Five New Travel Routes”).