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Judge rules against Utah's bid to control roads in national parks

Discussion in 'Save the Desert' started by baja619, Jun 20, 2011.

  1. baja619

    baja619 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2004
    Location:
    Corona / San Diego
    From LA TIMES Greenspace
    "Environmental news from California and beyond"

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/gre...ght-to-control-roads-in-national-parks-1.html

    Last week a federal judge ruled against San Juan County and the state of Utah in their long-running attempt to open an off-road vehicle route in Canyonlands National Park. The route, a stream bottom called Salt Creek, was closed more than a decade ago by the National Park Service to stop engine oil and grease from polluting the stream and degrading wildlife habitat.

    The claims are part of an effort by several western states and counties to gain control of federal land through an obscure 19th century statute called RS 2477 that allows local entities to claim rights of way if they can prove that the routes were formerly used as historic roads or trails.

    The legal maneuvering has been used by officials in some cases to punch roads into areas that are being considered for wilderness protection.

    Heidi McIntosh, an attorney for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, said Judge Bruce Jenkins' ruling is critical because it holds that evidence of long-abandoned prospecting routes, livestock trails and occasional off-road travel do not convey RS 2477 rights or easements. And they cannot be called highways, which is the language of the statute.

    The ruling concluded that a Jeep trail on a streambed was a "byway, but not a highway."

    The Salt Creek claim slices through a national park and is part of an expansive roadless area on the Colorado Plateau. Canyonlands is part of southern Utah's spectacular red rock country, recently seen in the film "127 Hours."

    Conservation groups have been trying for decades to persuade Congress to designate wilderness areas in the region. Those efforts have been largely thwarted by the state's governors and members of Congress.

    Utah officials have persisted, even in the face of legal setbacks. There's every chance that the fight to wrest control of federal land will continue: Two weeks ago Garfield County filed a notice of intent to sue for 75 rights of way in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, and the state is expected to file hundreds of RS 2477 claims.

    -- Julie Cart
     
  2. baja619

    baja619 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Corona / San Diego
    Comments (11)

    Off-roaders would like you to believe that opening new areas to off-road vehicle use is a way to keep them contained on roads. This is utter nonsense. Anybody, and I mean anybody, who works in the field where there is off-roading knows that once off-road vehicles are allowed onto a road, there are trailblazers that start driving off that road to climb a cliff, crawl a rock, or just do donuts in some dry lake bed. Once the tire tracks are laid, everybody else follows. Pretty soon you have all kinds of damage from people driving off the designated roads.

    You should also be asking off-roaders why we're supposed to believe that they'll be able to control themselves and stay on these new roads while they're admitting that they can't seem to do it on existing roads. Isn't that what they're essentially saying when they say we should open these roads so they don't "have" to damage the environment somewhere else?

    Here's what off-roaders do: http://imgur.com/a/Yv894

    Posted by: Robert Duncan | June 19, 2011 at 08:36 AM


    Re: Martin Wayne's comment that shutting down ORV trails causes environmental damage because the riders than go elsewhere:
    Absolutely right. And that's why there should be timber sales for ancient trees in Redwood and Olympic National Parks, and state preserves. You see, timber poaching is a problem. Chain saw recreationists get shut out of their usual and accustomed logging grounds. So, they illegally poach giant trees from federal and state preserves, damaging the environment. Its easy to solve this problem. Just have a full fledged timber sale for the remaining large trees in the preserves. That way, they won't be forced to poach the trees from somewhere else, like . . .?

    This is a universal principle that can be used to solve al sorts of societal problems, such as bank robbery. Use you imagination.
    Posted by: Steve Erickson | June 18, 2011 at 04:36 PM


    "Utah officials have persisted, even in the face of legal setbacks. There's every chance that the fight to wrest control of federal land will continue." What a completely false statement. Too bad that any historical perspective about Utah's land grabs are actually known by so few people. The federal government is the organization fighting to wrest control from the states, Utah included; as shown by President Clinton's arbitrary and politically motivated designation of 1.7 million acres of Utah land in 1996:

    "While the U.S. House of Representatives has already approved President Clinton's designation of 1.7 million acres of Utah land as a federal wilderness area, the House Resources Committee has yet to read a blistering report by its own staff characterizing the deal initiated by the president just seven weeks before the 1996 election, as a blatant political act under the guise of environmental protection."
    Posted by: Scott | June 02, 2011 at 04:11 PM


    Roads or trails "historic" in origin, even segments, might be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Often a prehistoric trail is in the mix. Article does not comment on this angle. National Historic Preservation Act and National Environmental Policy Act coordination would not directly stop state's intentions but would bring increased public participation to this matter, something Utah probably wishes to avoid.
    Posted by: old timer | June 01, 2011 at 05:35 PM


    Where are the good ol' fashioned eco-crusaders like Ed Abbey when you need him? This is a victory for all Americans. Unfortunately, far too few care enough to see the importance of protecting our vital national treasures.
    Posted by: Dayna | June 01, 2011 at 04:04 PM


    Utah, along with other forward-thinking States, are trying to keep off-road vehicles on designated trails.
    A system of designated trails linked up to provide a State wide interconnecting network helps keep the ATV's in controlled areas - limiting the problem of expanding damage. Enforcement expenses can be obtained by licensing all off-road vehicles and putting some of that revenue to building and maintaining trails.
    In States where areas are continually being shut down they are finding the problem of increasingly smaller areas being used by increasingly more people and the issues that go with it.
    Also ATV tourism is a big source of revenue for States that are willing to deal with this properly.
    Posted by: Martin Wayne | June 01, 2011 at 02:01 PM


    Expect much more of this kind of stupidity if Romney or Huntsman get elected.
    Posted by: Tom Wake | June 01, 2011 at 12:53 PM


    This is a debate that has been going since long before the National Parks were created--an uphill battle that has gone on since the end of the Civil War. While we have honed Ruining the Planet to a fine art, we have almost no capacity for restoration--it is all we can do to "protect."

    No denegration should be directed at the state of Utah or its people. Utah is doing just as good or bad a job at protecting natural resources as anyone else is around here (by which I mean North America--and I've been studying this issue for awhile). Generally the issues, including this one, are local even though they can have global effect. If anything, we need to strengthen the laws; we'll always be working to keep the "takers" in abeyance.
    Posted by: Robin White | June 01, 2011 at 12:50 PM


    It's conservative terrorism on undefiled beauty. Anti-Americans who hate our freedom to enjoy OUR parks in as pure a state as they can be left. An evil desert tribe acting together in hate to strike beaurocratically in coodinated terror until, as the article reveals, they can pollute at will.
    Posted by: Native Angeleno | June 01, 2011 at 10:14 AM


    Offroad vehicles in National Parks? Thank God the feds stopped that stupidity.
    Posted by: affableman | June 01, 2011 at 09:26 AM


    Utah is a red state and destroying the environment is deemed acceptable as long as your having fun! Thank God the feds have put a stop to it....These red state hicks see no reason to save the environment because Jesus will be coming soon and he'll fix everything when he gets here. The problem is he was expected May 21st and nobodies seen hide nor hair of him.....
    Posted by: Gordon Hill | June 01, 2011 at 05:44 AM
     
  3. coilover88

    coilover88 Active Member

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    Paso Robles, CA
    "The Salt Creek claim slices through a national park and is part of an expansive roadless area on the Colorado Plateau. Canyonlands is part of southern Utah's spectacular red rock country, recently seen in the film "127 Hours."

    Expansive ROADLESS area? Might this fall under the proposed bills in congress to open these kinds of areas wrongly closed??

    And is it just me or is the LA Times doing a lot of off road pieces these days?
     
  4. baja619

    baja619 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Corona / San Diego
    Pretty much explains it all..

    From LA TIMES Greenspace
    "Environmental news from California and beyond"
     
  5. Ol' Curmudgeon

    Ol' Curmudgeon RDC's resident crackpot

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    The Cloud
    The LATIMES, whether under Chandler family or Tribune Syndicate ownership, has predominately leaned to the left in its editorial direction, just like Rupert Murdoch owned entities like FOX News leans to the right.

    So? Do you think the gov't. should control them or do you support the USC and the First Amendment?
     
  6. Vicconius

    Vicconius Member

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    Location:
    Santa Clarita
    There are always going to be those whom abuse our rights and privileges. We don't close parks because people leave trash behind or have open fires in restricted areas do we? Those comments are typical from those on the left who automatically assume every off roader out there is going 'blaze new trails' everywhere. Again the left is trying to tell us that they know what's best for everyone and that we must be protected from ourselves.
     
  7. Ol' Curmudgeon

    Ol' Curmudgeon RDC's resident crackpot

    Joined:
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    Uh, yes, we do, have in the past and will continue to in the future. For the reasons stated above and other issues.
     

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