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Dedicated to conservation and multiple use of public lands for recreation opportunities.
Edited by: John Stewart
West Mojave Management Plan
To: West Mojave Supergroup and Others Interested in Route Designation
From: Bill Haigh, West Mojave Project Manager
As most of you are aware, a BLM staff recommendation addressing off highway vehicle access on BLM-administered public lands within the western Mojave Desert received quite a bit of attention after it was presented to Task Group 2 late in January.
The 1980 California Desert Plan mandated that OHV routes located on public lands zoned "Class L" by that plan be designated as open or closed to vehicle access (or open on a limited basis, such as seasonal restrictions), based upon resource and recreational access needs. This has been achieved in several areas, including the Jawbone Canyon region, the Rand Mountains, and Afton Canyon. The job has yet to be completed elsewhere. However, the BLM is seeking to finish this task as part of the West Mojave planning process. To this end, BLM staff developed a network of recommended open and closed vehicle routes for the remaining Class L public lands within the West Mojave. It was this staff recommendation which was presented to Task Group 2 for its consideration earlier this year.
Interest in the suggested OHV network was high, particularly in the Ridgecrest area. This culminated in a public meeting held on March 27, 2000 at the Kerr McGee center, attended by 230 persons. The thrust of public comments was: maximize public involvement, and explain why BLM staff came up with their recommendations. To that end, I have proposed the following process:
1. Detailed (1:24,000 scale) maps of the recommended route network are being prepared. This will require about 45 maps to cover the entire West Mojave. The first groups of maps should be completed within the next three weeks. I'll try to make sure that two or three complete sets are available in each of the BLM field offices (Barstow and Ridgecrest) for persons to view and/or borrow. Within the capabilities of our map printing equipment, particular maps of specific regions could be printed for interested individuals or groups. Each map will, in addition, list the factors considered by staff as they weighed whether to recommend a route or group of routes to be designated open or closed.
2. A narrative report will be prepared for each of about 20 "subregions" into which we have divided Class L public lands within the western Mojave Desert. Each report will explain the reasons why the staff's recommeded route network looks the way it does. These reports also will be completed during the next few weeks.
3. Beginning in early July, we would initiate a two or three-month "field review" period. You would be encouraged to review maps and reports, visit the field and submit comments to BLM offices. Task Group 2 will also be asked to submit comments to BLM, as will West Mojave Interagency Planning Team staff. We'll set a firm deadline for comments to be submitted.
4. The staff recommendation will be revised as necessary and warranted by comments.
5. The revised network then would be considered, with the rest of the West Mojave Plan's recommendations, through a formal public scoping and Environmental Impact Statement and Report analysis. The Draft EIR/S would itself be subject to a 90-day public review.
Please let me know what you think of this proposal. In addition, if any of you have access to equipment to prepare additional copies of the maps, we could make arrangements for you to work with our computer mapping staff to ensure this could be accomplished.