PHOENIX, AZ | BlueRibbon Coalition announced this week that it opposes yet another unlawful land grab of nearly 1 million acres through the creation of the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument. During President Biden's visit to western states this last week, he abused the powers authorized by the Antiquities Act to designate a new national monument in northern Arizona.
“This designation will weaken the American economy, it will weaken America geopolitically, and it will lock the American people out of their public lands,” BlueRibbon Coalition Executive Director, Ben Burr said. “Without relief from the federal courts, and hopefully the Supreme Court, it is clear that presidents will continue to abuse the Antiquities Act, which is currently abused with no discernible limit to the powers it allegedly delegates to presidents.”
Last August, BlueRibbon Coalition filed a legal challenge to the expansions of two national monuments in the state of Utah. We are currently exploring our legal options to challenge this new monument in Arizona. These designations are locking Americans out of millions of acres of public land, and we are the only organization that represents recreation users that is aggressively challenging the abuse of the Antiquities Act. The only one.
But fortunately we're not alone. Our legal team From Jones Day in Washington D.C. consists of constitutional law experts who specialize in winning Supreme Court cases. In response to President Biden's land grab this week, the Editorial Board of the Wall Street Journal had this to say, "There is currently no limit to a President’s power under the Antiquities Act to remove land from development and public use. Environmental groups even argue that Presidents can’t roll back predecessors’ designation. This interpretation of one-way executive power is more sweeping than the Grand Canyon and is crying out for a legal challenge."
Of course we're only in this fight because of the support of our members. Scroll to the end of this email and you will see several new clubs and organizations who joined BRC this week. We are honored that the UT/AZ ATV Club and Trail Hero added their voice to our legal challenge to the Utah monument expansions.
If you're offended by the arrogance of a president who would abuse his power to lock us out of 1 million acres of our public land, and then make a beeline to meet with deep-pocketed environmentalist donors in Park City, Utah to collect the checks at an event where donors we're committing $100,000 per head, then please support us in our historic fight.
During the last week in July our Executive Director, Ben Burr, was an invited guest of Utah’s Big Ride 18. This ride include leaders of the numerous ATV clubs from across the state and leaders of the state OHV program. The ride was hosted by Daniel’s Summit Lodge, and each day included rides into Utah’s high country trails. Ben was the guest speaker on the first day. Since the previous year’s ride, he had a lot of important updates for the fights we’ve been in to keep Utah open for motorized recreation. Our biggest Utah fight is the challenge to President Biden’s abuse of the Antiquities Act that is moving through federal court. This week we were reminded again how destructive it can be for our outdoor adventures when presidents abuse the Antiquities Act to lock up our public lands. Ben also gave an update on our 10,000+ Project, which is our effort to keep over 10,000 miles of roads and trails open through a legal settlement with wilderness groups. The possibility of hundreds of miles of closures of world-class trails around Moab is part of this project, and we are expecting the Bureau of Land Management to release the final plan for Moab’s trails as soon as September 30th.
He also shared an update about the Lost Trails Guidebook, and our effort to ensure that we don’t see trails closed because wilderness groups claim we aren’t using them. Not surprisingly, everyone was excited to learn about new trails to ride and areas to explore. This is Ben’s 4th year attending the Big Ride, and it is always great to catch up with the friends and leaders who have made Utah a premier destination for motorized recreation. We are honored to be part of this success.
We appreciate the clubs who participate in the Big Ride who are also organization members of BRC. We are committed to keep fighting to keep Utah open for adventure.
Kootenai Over Snow Vehicle Plan
The Kootenai National Forests is accepting public comment on the Kootenai Over Snow Vehicle (OSV) plan. Comments are accepted through August 21, 2023. The USFS is starting this planning process to comply with federal regulations requiring a travel management plan across all forests including for over snow vehicles. The Forest Service is also undergoing OSV planning in the Kaniksu National Forest. Please add your voice to this process!
Bears Ears National Monument
If a proposed swap between the BLM and Utah's State Trust Lands is approved, BlueRibbon wants to ensure continued recreation and access on the current SITLA parcels. The BLM would now become the land managers of this acreage and it should not be managed restrictively. Wilderness and other forms of restrictive management should be prohibited from this land that has a long history of use and access that benefits the local communities. Please add your feedback on this proposal.
TRAIL CLOSURE IN MOAB, UT
Back in the 2008 Resource Management Plan, the Bureau of Land Management closed over 600 miles of trails in Moab UT. The photo above is one of those trails that has been reclaimed. You can even still see the tire marks from where the two tracks used to be. THIS YEAR on Sept 30th the BLM is scheduled make a decision on the Labyrinth Rims / Gemini Bridges area of Moab. 437 MILES of trails could potentially close if we don’t do something about it!
Blue Ribbon Coalition is having a summer membership drive to help Save Moab’s trails.
We are nearing the end game in our fight to keep 437 MILES of trails open in Moab, Utah.
NEWSLETTER CLUB AND ORGANIZATION SPOTLIGHT
The BlueRibbon Coalition is excited to announce that the following groups have recently joined or renewed their membership: -F & S Yamaha & Marine -High Desert Off-Road, Southern Idaho -Prescott Trail Riders -Vilas County Snowmobile Alliance -Straightaway Motors -North Central ATV Club
As passionate recreation enthusiasts, these clubs understand the importance of fighting for and protecting our public lands and trails for future generations to enjoy. By renewing their support, they are helping to ensure that the BlueRibbon Coalition can continue to advocate for responsible access to our public lands. We are grateful for their ongoing commitment to our mission and look forward to working together to keep the trails open and accessible for all.