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©2009 by Del Albright, Use freely given by Permission Only, All Rights Reserved. Page 1
View from the Locked Gate
A bit of sarcasm about an access lesson
By Del & Stacie Albright, BlueRibbon Coalition
The gal in uniform with the big gun on her hip smiled and waved as she installed the recessed
pad lock on the gate. I guess she thought we were happy about the road being closed. Her
rugged 4x4 government‐bought pickup truck that was kinda parked in our view had all sorts of
signs and decals declaring she was a public servant. We figured it must be true.
She had sent us an official‐looking letter a while back asking for comments, but the fish were
a’bitin’ so we missed out on the letter‐writin’. We figured someone else would write those
darn letters. We figured wrong on all accounts.
It was a heck of a view we had – trees, rocks, trails, roads, wildlife, mountains, creeks, and vast
open areas beckoning to the adventurer in all of us. It’s easy to recall my Dad, Elmer, telling
stories of roaming this kind of back country area 40 years ago with the freedom of a jack rabbit
in the Mojave Desert. He always told us to get outdoors and have fun while taking care of the
land. He figured we would all have the same freedom. He figured wrong.
The ability, and most importantly the opportunity that my dad had to take his kids out and
teach us how to fish, hunt, hike, play and breathe in the fresh air is all but gone now. My mind
wanders off and I think of what can happen if we continue down this dangerous path of
management by closure.
Soon it will be just a happy memory of our nine year old when she was able to see nature, hike,
take pictures and jump in and out of our 4 wheel drive while we were on the hunt for a new
camp spot. Soon she will not have the opportunity to teach them the same lessons and family
traditions that came naturally and innocently in her youth to her tots.
Our view now is tainted, to say the least. Padlocks, iron pipe, closed signs, reinforced hinges,
and small‐print letting us know under no uncertain circumstances that the land beyond the gate
is CLOSED to access – unless of course you want to haul your buns in there via boot rubber.
Now, as I stand here watching that same gal in uniform jump back into her four wheel drive
(that I paid for) and drive on down my old favorite trail I get a lump in my throat and I get a
little teary eyed just thinking about the view our kids are going to have from this same locked
gate that’s in my backyard. I don’t think I’m figuring wrong anymore.
Article: View from Locked Gate
Back to the future: in reality, there are things we can all do to prevent this (sarcastic) scenario
from happening. You’ve read tons of articles on getting involved, joining groups like
BlueRibbon Coalition, and ensuring your family and friends have a place to ride. Just do it. Visit
Land Use, Access and Rubicon Trail Home Page by Del Albright including Volunteer Training and Outdoor Photography and BlueRibbon Coalition: Preserving your recreational access to public lands. for more things you can do right now. Make a
difference and help prevent closures from blocking our “view” any more. Join up, donate and
get in the game. Please, before we have nothing left to figure on...
The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible use of public lands
and waters, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. It represents over 10,000 individual
members and 1,200 organization and business members, for a combined total of over 600,000
recreationists nationwide. 1‐800‐258‐3742. BlueRibbon Coalition: Preserving your recreational access to public lands.
RECREATIONAL GROUPS FILE TO ENTER UTAH DESERT LAWSUIT
Contact: Paul Turcke 208-331-1800
Date: April 8, 2009
WASHINGTON, DC - A coalition of recreational access groups moved today to join a lawsuit challenging Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plans covering nearly seven million acres in Utah. The motion was filed by the Trails Preservation Alliance (TPA), Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition (COHVCO), and BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC), all trails-based, grassroots recreation advocacy groups. The lawsuit was filed by eleven preservationist groups, led by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. Through the suit, the plaintiffs hope to have the BLM plans declared illegal and set aside, and ask the Court to issue an injunction preventing activities authorized by the plans until BLM issues new decisions complying with a host of federal statutes. The lands at issue are located in the BLM Moab, Price, and Vernal Field Offices, which include iconic destinations for all types of backcountry recreationists.
"Our groups have carefully participated in these planning processes," said Don Riggle, TPA founder. "We are far from satisfied with the final BLM decisions, but can obviously see that SUWA is attempting, through this suit, to close off access to even those trails that survived the designation process," Riggle concluded. "Our courtroom relationship with SUWA stretches back nearly a decade, and this suit seemingly breathes continuing life into that relationship," added Brian Hawthorne, BRC Public Lands Policy Director.
The lawsuit was originally filed on December 17, 2008, and targeted 77 lease sales for oil and gas drilling on BLM-managed lands. Those sales were halted by a temporary restraining order issued by the Court on January 17, 2009. The latest complaint, filed March 19, 2009, drops the claims against the oil and gas leasing projects, which BLM has apparently withdrawn. However, the current complaint adds claims addressing other uses, including off-highway vehicle use.
The Recreational Groups and SUWA have waged prior battles over BLM's management of Utah lands, most notably including a 2000 lawsuit by which SUWA sought to compel agency action meeting SUWA's vision of that required by BLM. In that suit, the Recreational Groups filed a motion to dismiss the case on jurisdictional grounds, which was granted by the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, reversed by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, but ultimately affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2004. During and subsequent to that case, BLM has been preparing the land use plans and travel management designations now under challenge in the present suit.
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The Trails Preservation Alliance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the sport of motorized trail riding, educating all user groups and the public on the value of sharing public lands for multiuse recreation, while protecting public lands for future generations. Colorado Trails Preservation Alliance - Home
COHVCO is a nonprofit organization whose member enthusiasts, organizations and businesses collectively comprise over 200,000 Coloradoans and regular visitors to Colorado and other western states who contribute millions of dollars and thousands of hours annually to off-highway vehicle recreation through registration fees, retail expenditure, project participation and related support. Colorado OHV Coalition
The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible use of recreation, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. It represents over 10,000 individual members and 1,200 organization and business members, for a combined total of over 600,000 recreationists nationwide. 1-800-258-3742. BlueRibbon Coalition: Preserving your recreational access to public lands.
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