In an unbelievable sign of unity and strength the OHV industry struck back at the Outdoor Industry Associations (OIA) request of the President this week. The overwhelming opposition by the largest motorized recreation advocacy groups in the United States to use executive power to restrict Motorized Recreation is a sign of the growing support of equal access and the economic benefit to the country that comes with the massive representation the groups speak for. A number of OIA business represented in this weeks letter to the president have pulled their support of the OIA request.
Below is the body of the letter which was hand signed by each of the groups represented.
November 15, 2012
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
As representatives of organizations that advocate for responsible motorized recreation we write to urge you NOT to move forward with the designation of a massive swath of public lands in Utah as recently called for by a number of organizations. National Monument designations should be reserved for dramatically smaller tracts of land than the 1.4 million acres that has been proposed. Further, we believe that the data on the economic impact of recreation supports a more methodical approach to land management than is possible with a National Monument designation of the size and scope that has been urged. Lastly, the timing for such a designation is wholly inappropriate as there are ongoing local processes currently being pursued that will result in the appropriate management of the lands in question.
As you know, the Antiquities Act provides that the President has the authority to declare areas, “…the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible…” as National Monuments. Several Presidents have stretched this authority to designate enormous swaths of public lands as National Monuments, often locking out multiple uses like motorized recreation. It is time for this practice to stop. Too often when there is no widespread local and Congressional support for designating public lands as wilderness or otherwise limiting multiple-use access, proponents seek to achieve their goal by calling for the Administration to designate the area as a National Monument. Clearly, designating 1.4 million acres in Utah without extensive public involvement is not the right direction.
The proponents of the National Monument cite a recreation impact study that shows “that outdoor recreation is ‘an overlooked economic giant,’ generating $646 billion in national sales and services in 2011 and supporting 6.1 million jobs, powering the economy in a manner comparable to the financial services and insurance industries or outpatient health care.” They are telling only part of the story. The same study shows that approximately $257 billion or nearly 40% of the total $646 billion in economic impact is derived from motorized recreation. Unfortunately motorized recreation is far too often shut out of National Monument areas. The blanket designation of these lands as a National Monument, along with the almost certain restrictions that come along with designation, could effectively mean that a significant portion of the total economic impact of recreation to the area will be forfeited. Also, many other recreational uses that contribute to the overall figure of $646 billion frequently are restricted in National Monument areas as well. For example bicycling accounts for another $81 billion annually. Now consider that the National Park Service has recently twice denied permits for a professional bike race to be held, in part, in Colorado National Monument, despite the positive economic impact the race would have on the local economy. This is but one of many examples of recreational uses being limited in these areas.
Yet another serious issue with this proposal is that decisions are currently being made through collaborative processes at the local level over how best to manage the lands in question. The counties that will be impacted, including San Juan, Emery and Wayne
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Counties, are engaged with all stakeholders in these processes including conservation groups and Members of Congress. On other issues, your Administration has been a strong supporter of locally generated collaborative solutions, including America’s Great Outdoors, which calls for grassroots initiatives, so we ask that you support the collaborative approach on this issue as well. To move forward with the designation and pull the rug out from under those who will be most likely to be impacted by land use decisions – local citizens – as they hammer out the requisite compromises to ensure that resources are protected while also ensuring that their economies and way of life are negatively impacted to the smallest degree practicable, would be unwise.
Finally, we do not believe that inappropriately designating the entire area as a National Monument will best protect the area’s resources. As it stands, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is tasked with managing these lands and has recently completed an entirely new Resource Management Plan (RMP) for the area. BLM’s new plan is supported by local governments and limits motorized and non-motorized activities to routes that have been subject to environmental analysis and public involvement. The BLM has at its disposal all the tools necessary to protect these important resources and to ensure that multiple use goals are met. To designate the entire area as a National Monument, and require the development of a new management plan, will effectively take many of these tools away from BLM.
Please do not move forward with this inappropriate National Monument designation of the Greater Canyonlands in Utah. Instead, please encourage BLM officials to actively engage in the local processes that will result in the best management and resource protection for this area.
Thank you for your consideration.