“This extensive trail system offers OHV riders vast and diverse opportunities to ride and recreate on public lands in southeastern Utah,” said Utah BLM Director Juan Palma. “This expansion adds to more than 2,800 miles of existing trails and will help improve visitor access and safety and boost tourism in the area. I applaud the BLM team and San Juan County officials for studying the routes to ensure that recreation was an appropriate use of these public lands.”
An interdisciplinary team of BLM specialists worked with San Juan County representatives to develop the plan as a way to “further support motorized recreation and tourism in the area,” according to the news release. Wildlife needs were also considered, with construction timed to avoid nesting and breeding periods for migratory birds and other animals, agency officials said.
BLM officials said that nearly six million visitors recreate on Utah’s public lands each year, boosting local economies and community job growth through recreation tourism. In 2012, recreation on BLM-managed lands in Utah provided $490 million in local and national economic benefits, according to the news release.
The environmental assessment, including maps of the routes, contains the analysis used to reach today’s decision. The decision rationale is outlined in the Finding of No Significant Impact and Decision Record which are available on the Environmental Notification Bulletin Board at: https://www.blm.gov/ut/enbb/index.php — search for project name “Five New Travel Routes.”