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Recreational Access and Conservation - News and Information Short Cuts
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Dedicated to conservation and multiple use of public lands for recreation opportunities.

Edited by: John Stewart

BLM Studying Land Closure in El Paso Mountains (CA) - Feb 22 Meeting

For several months a BLM Task Force has been meeting to discuss maps for proposed closures in the El Paso Mountains. Members of the High Desert Multiple Use Coalition (HDMUC) got wind of the meetings last month and diiscovered that a meeting was scheduled for February 22. Ron Schiller, Chairman of the HDMUC got a look at the maps which he described as "...red lines all over...proposed for closures..." According to his estimate, 80-85% of the existing roads and trails in the El Paso Mountiains area would be closed.

As summerized by Mr. Schiller, "I just returned from a BLM meeting where I was able to get a look at a map of what the BLM is wanting to close to motorized access in the vicinity of Ridgecrest. Folk, I have to say that this is the worst proposal that I have seen since the so-called Desert Protection Act was foisted upon us by Senator Feinstein and the environmental extremists. In particular, I was alarmed by the elimination of vehicle routes in the El Paso Mountains and other areas immediately south of town (Ridgecrest, CA). The map was virtually a sea of closed routes with very few left open for access. In my estimation, there was at least 80 to 85 percent of the roads closed. Although I talked with several key BLM managers, no one could, or would, tell me how the proposal was developed, or who decided which routes to close, or even identify the resource concern. My friends, we cannot live with this proposal. If implemented, this plan would have deleterious effects on many recreational activities including gem and mineral collecting, hunting, sight seeing, mountain biking and even equestrian events such as poker rides and endurance rides."

The HDMUC has proposed three actions:

First, the "BLM Access Task Group" will be meeting in Ridgecrest on Tuesday, February 22. We ABSOLUTELY MUST BE THERE IN FORCE. The meeting will start at 9:00 AM at the Ridgecrest BLM Office, 300 South Richmond Road. If you possibly can, take a couple of hours off work and stay through lunch. We must protect our last remaining access to local public lands.

The second thing is to contact the BLM Project Manager, Mr. William Haigh, and request that he place your name and address on the mailing list to receive all future information regarding this important issue. Mr. Haigh is located in the BLM Barstow Field Office and can be contacted at (760) 252-6080.

The third thing to do is to pass this information on to anyone who recreates on public land or has any interest in maintaining access to OUR PUBLIC LAND. For further information regarding this or other local land management issues, please contact Ron Schiller, HDMUC or Mr. William Haigh, BLM Barstow Field Office.

Contacts: Related Links:

Ron Schiller, Chairman
High Desert Multiple Use Coalition, Inc.
P.O. Box 1167
Ridgecrest, CA 93555
Phone: 760-377-5053

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