Protecting Our Public Lands

Public Lands Policy

land use Protecting Our Public LandsWashington County is one of the most scenic areas in the West. The beautiful open spaces and scenic vistas make Washington County a desirable place to visit and call home. Citizens for Dixie’s Future (CDF) is working to ensure the irreplaceable cultural, scenic, ecological and scientific values are protected and properly conserved.

Our policy work mainly focuses on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) projects and management. We work to rally public involvement to support common sense approaches to land management that will preserve our resources for future generations.

BLM Planning

For the past six years, the BLM has been working on their top level planning for lands in Washington County. The 2009 Lands Bill directed BLM to create Resource Management Plans (RMP) for the new NCAs, Beaver Dam Wash & Red Cliffs as well as A Travel Management Plan (TMP) for all BLM lands in Washington County. The plans will guide management of our NCAs and other BLM lands for the next 10-15 years! These plans are incredibly important to future management of our public lands.

Draft BLM Resource Management Plans for NCAs RELEASED for public comment

CLICK HERE TO VIEW WEBPAGE

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE FILE (please note that this is a large file, 150 MB, and may take a while to download)

Also released for comment is a draft amendment to the 1999 RMP, in which BLM will designate all of their 629,000 acres in Washington County as Open-Closed-Limited to motorized use. Open areas are where cross-country off highway vehicle travel is permitted. Closed areas are not available for motorized use. Limited areas are designated to routes and trails only. The reduction in open areas in the DRAFT is due to the topography of landscape and you can’t have vehicles driving anywhere. The Plan Amendment will also include designations of Areas of Critical Environment Concern (ACEC).

You will have a chance to make your voice heard in the planning process by attending open houses in September and submitting comments before October 15, 2015. The comment period started July 17, 2015 with publication of notice in the Federal Register. Tell BLM what you think of the specific aspects of the alternatives and why. Effective comments refer to the plans and BLM’s accuracy of its sources.

The Comprehensive Travel and Management Plan will be released for Public comments after the NCA Resource Management Plans commenting process are complete. The Travel Plan will address access needs for a wide array of public land users for roads and trails for motorized and non motorized use in Washington County.

Issues Focus

In 2010, BLM held scoping meetings to gather public input on issues to be studied in these plans. CDF worked with hundreds of local citizens and other groups to identify key areas of concern, gather information on trails and roads, and target areas of high value. Out of that process we identified the following as key concerns:

  • CDF opposes placing a highway through the protected Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, an area of high recreational use and habitat for wildlife and for the Desert Tortoise.
  • How will the plans preserve and manage the high recreational, natural, and scenic values of our NCAs
  • Where will the plans provide places for wildlife and quiet recreation
  • Will the plans provide triggers to close trails for better management of resources