San Rafael Desert Draft Travel Plan

DaveInDenver

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Go to: https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front...me=dispatchToPatternPage&currentPageId=139588

The BLM released a draft environmental study and travel plan for the San Rafael Desert, which is the land east of Utah highway 24 over to the Green River and north of the Canyonlands Maze district up to the Bookcliffs north of I-70. There's several roads from homesteads and ranches historically and some exploration for archeology and geology (there's some very interesting ruins and features). But mostly it's not (yet) heavily trafficked.

We have until Jan 13, 2020 to submit comments and since it was only just released last Friday (the 13th!) not much attention yet.

Some of the preliminary data was finalized over the summer back in June but I don't think anyone was really prepared because even SUWA only just today wrote that they hate it and I'd have thought they would have been more on top to condemn it over the weekend if they'd have known.

I went to the open house in Green River last night. Talked to a few of the BLM representatives. They were nice and seemed open to hearing feedback. Two of the alternatives seems legitimately favorable to OHVs even.
 

DaveInDenver

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Legend is blue is limited use OHV, green is open, tan is closed but left for administrative.

Alternative A (current):
sanrafaeldesert_alta.png


Alternative B:
sanrafaeldesert_altb.png



Alternative C:
sanrafaeldesert_altc.png


Alternative D:
sanrafaeldesert_altd.png
 

DaveInDenver

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So only two views of this thread? I know it's the holidays but apathy and indifference is why trails get closed! The BLM is looking to this as a measure of how to handle the other two travel plans (The San Rafael Swell and Nine Mile Canyon way to the north by Price) so it's important to at least comment with a "I support Alternative X as a OHV user."

Screen Shot 2019-12-20 at 6.49.41 AM.png
 

Beach Boy

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Dave, I have been looking at this, but just not commenting. I wish I had more notice about the meeting in Green River, I would have joined you there.
 

rover67

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I’m looking also. This is an area I have explored a little and was wanting to explore more. I’ll review a bit more when I have time this weekend and likely submit comments on my own behalf
 

Hulk

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Something wasn't adding up for me on the charts so I created a total at the bottom of each. The weird thing is that Option A (current) doesn't equal the total of the other options.

Screen Shot 2019-12-20 at 1.54.09 PM.png


Also, the maps show nothing north of I-70 -- is this correct?
 

DaveInDenver

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Alternative A is the current plan which doesn't really differentiate between open, limited and closed. So it's not an apples-to-apples comparison. It's essentially a do nothing option that can't be implemented under the current BLM route classification scheme. It would mean everything shown on the map/plan is "open" and a few adhoc routes closed probably not really following any real logic or review.

For OHVs in this context Open means no restrictions to any vehicle or time. Limited means typically either a width limit (thus is single track or under 50") or might mean closed part of the year. Closed means either the route is abandoned or will be only open to administrative use, which might mean only BLM or a private inholding owner with a permit for perhaps a mine.

To me between B, C and D we'd as full size OHV used year-round B would lose quite a bit in recreational routes. It seems to mainly give people access to trailheads for hiking or MTBs and the river. C more or less retains all the current routes as open and add limited routes. Alt D adds quite a bit.

The main reason I think your numbers don't add up is that both C and D are formalizing what the BLM calls existing "disturbances" or IOW tracks that are on the ground but have not been previously mapped by the BLM (probably are on topos or been mapped by Garmin and Open Streets Maps though) and put on a plan. They may have existed from homesteaders or prior to any real management being in place, hard to say. Some of might even be viable routes anymore, not sure without eyes on the ground.
 
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Hulk

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Will the BLM definitely choose one of these options?

Is there any reason we would want C rather than D?

Also, the maps show nothing north of I-70 -- is this correct?
 

DaveInDenver

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Dave, I have been looking at this, but just not commenting. I wish I had more notice about the meeting in Green River, I would have joined you there.
I posted on the RS Facebook feed that morning figuring it would be more likely seen but even that I understand is a hit-or-miss thing. I only found out the meetings the day before since we were out of town over the weekend and I didn't see the BLM announcement from Friday until Monday.

Maybe there needs to be an emergency land use calling tree, you know like when we had snow days in grade school.
 

DaveInDenver

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Will the BLM definitely choose one of these options?

Is there any reason we would want C rather than D?
The BLM doesn't necessarily have to select just B, C or D but will probably use one with whatever modifications are accepted. IOW if they get a lot of comments that XYZ route needs modification and it's only shown on C but otherwise B is deemed the have the most support then they'd modify B. That's why even if you can't comment on a detail just having a mountain of "Pick C" or "Pick D" gives more weight to those as a baseline.
Also, the maps show nothing north of I-70 -- is this correct?
Correct. This is a 3-step process. San Rafael Desert first then San Rafael Swell (to the west in pink) or Nine Mile Canyon (to the far north in green) follow in some order.

Utah_Price_TMA_Settlement_Map.png
 

AxleIke

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So are they limiting OHV or all motorized? I wish they would keep their terms straight through the years.
 

MountainGoat

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They make this so complex. :( My limited understanding is that Alternative D is best and C is second best for our preferred method of usage. Is that essentially correct?
 

Mendocino

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So how and where do we comment? Any suggested format, or just: My name, I use the area recreationally on an annual basis, and I prefer Alternative D, and if that's not an option Alternative C..."
 

DaveInDenver

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So how and where do we comment? Any suggested format, or just: My name, I use the area recreationally on an annual basis, and I prefer Alternative D, and if that's not an option Alternative C..."
They don't make that at all clear, do they? It does not appear they have a website for automated comments as it is typical of USFS.

I plan to write my comments attached as a PDF document to an email as well as mail a printed copy. They can't misplace two, right?

From the BLM Utah Facebook page:

"Please, reference the San Rafael Desert TMP when submitting comments.

Submit comments to the project manager:
BLM Green River District
Planning and Environmental Coordinator
Ann Glubczynski

fax:
(435) 781-4410

mail:
Bureau of Land Management
170 South 500 East
Vernal, Utah 84078

email:
BLM_UT_PR_Comments@blm.gov

Before including an address, phone number, email address, or other personally identifiable information in any comments, be aware that the entire comment, including personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. Requests to withhold personal identifying information from public review can be submitted, but the BLM cannot guarantee that it will be able to do so.

For more information, call Ann Glubczynski at (435) 781-4474, or the BLM Price Field Office at (435) 636-3600."
 
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jps8460

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Writing my comments tonight. Only a few days left folks. Don’t miss out!!
 

DaveInDenver

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One week to left.

Just to reinforce the importance of letting the BLM know you support (hopefully) Alternative D. This isn't ideal but it's a compromise anyway and leaves a lot in place.

"Closed" routes in Alternative B

sanrafaeldesert_altb_closed.png



"OHV Closed" routes in Alternative D

sanrafaeldesert_altd_closed.png
 

Hulk

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Any sentences we should be sure to include in our letter? I know we should not copy word-for-word, but I'm good at rewriting things to put them in my own voice. But I want to make sure I am not missing an essential piece of content.
 

jps8460

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Today is the last day for comment. If you need some inspiration, this is what I wrote. Please don't copy it, then we'll have 2 letters that mean nothing. And you don't want to have to explain my terrible grammar to the grammar police. like the word recreationalist which apparently doesn't exist.

To:
Ann Glubczynski
BLM Green River District
Planning and Environmental Coordinator

I appreciate the opportunity to comment on the travel proposal alternatives.

I am an avid four wheel drive (4x4) recreationalist. I’m and avid camper, and work professionally as an engineer in the four wheel drive industry. I’m also the president of a Colorado 4X4 club called The Rising Sun. When I’m not working on 4x4’s, my wife and I use them to explore our wonderful public lands. High clearance roads are my preferred method to get to some of the wonderful history and scenery that Utah has to offer. I’ve spent a significant amount of time over the last 6 years exploring the San Rafael Desert (SRD) and surrounding areas. No only do public lands bring me happiness, they are also generate the industry that pays my bills.
Personally and in our club, I preach TREAD principles and insist on responsible/respectful use of our public lands. Our club performs over 3500hrs of public land service each year. We do this to help keep trails clean, maintained and in hopes that the people serving our recreational management needs will not simply close trails as a means of land management.
Mixed land use is all I request. That is in line with your mission statement of: “It is the mission of the Bureau of Land Management to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.”
I don’t desire the creation of new routes. I think what we have now is adequate to access most of the unique areas and provide fun technical 4x4 experiences. While I would love to see us stick to Alternative A, I think we both know that it’s not really an “alternative” at this point. While I find it a bit ridiculous to have 30 days to read thousands of pages of documents, that took years to generate, and be able to make an informed comment; I will respectfully ask that the BLM supports Alternative D.
regards,
Jackson Philby
 

DaveInDenver

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Ann Glubczynski
Planning and Environmental Coordinator
Bureau of Land Management
Green River District
170 South 500 East
Vernal, UT 84078
BLM_UT_PR_Comments@blm.gov

Re: San Rafael Desert Travel Management Plan

Ms. Glubczynski:

Thank you for the opportunity to review and please accept my comments regarding the San Rafael Desert (SRD) Travel Management Plan (TMP). My comments are submitted as a frequent mountain biker and hiker across the SRD. I also often utilize and enjoy 4WD travel for trail access, exploration and dispersed camping in the area.

The SRD is close to my home in Grand Junction and as a consequence among my favorite destinations due to the remoteness and minimal development. I typically base camp from my truck and set out on foot or bike but also will explore overnight or multiple days on my mountain bike affixed with frame bags or a pulling a trailer (e.g. bikepacking).

As the best balance of environmental and resource conservation and continuing to protect access for all types of users I would like to request the BLM implement Alternative D with the following suggested modifications.
  • SD810 is current “Closed (Limited to Admin Use)” but this interrupts a loop through Dry Wash with SD809 and SD812. I ask that the BLM designate SD810 “OHV Limited” the same as SD812 is classified in Alternatives C and D.
  • Currently SD1346a is shown as an “OHV Limited” route with no obvious way to access the route. SD415 and SD419 are shown as “OHV Closed” from south and SD673 is shown on the map as “OHV Closed” from the north (presumably connecting to SD678). SD673 is listed as “OHV Limited” in the Route Report. Clarification or changing either SD673 or SD415 to “OHV Limited” is necessary. Changing both would make a large loop possible using SD421, SD214 and SD209.
  • Route SD494 stops abruptly at the slick rock crossing. This leaves it about 1,500 feet short so that it longer reaches the State Land Trust inholding and recreational opportunities near Keg Springs.
Thank you for reviewing my comments.

Respectfully,
 
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