ORBA is working with a number of local and national organizations to protect motorized recreation in southern Utah. President Obama is under pressure to designate 1.4 million acres of land in Utah as a National Monument. The area surrounds Canyonlands National Park near Moab, Utah and is referred to as “Greater Canyonlands.” There is no widespread local or Congressional support for the designation, which could threaten to close off-highway vehicle (OHV) use and shared access.
The President has the authority to declare a National Monument through the Antiquities Act of 1906. This authority has only been used 104 times in nearly 100 years and is typically limited to a small area of land. A number of conservation groups are now urging the President to create the Greater Canyonlands National Monument, close 1,050 miles of OHV routes and monitor another 1,450 miles for possible future closure.
ORBA and its coalition partners urged the President to abandon the idea in a letter sent last November. The letter cited the positive economic impact of motorized recreation activities, which accounts for over $257 billion in annual economic impact nationwide. The letter also called for a more collaborative approach to land use decisions, including input from local citizens, elected leaders and other stakeholders.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages most of the subject land. It has instituted a Resource Management Plan that already restricts motorized and non-motorized activities to routes that have been subject to environmental analysis and public comment. ORBA will work with its local and national partners to publicize the fact that a Monument Designation is inappropriate and would undermine the existing public process for regulating roads and trails.