Utah: BlueRibbon Coalition and Utah Shared Access Alliance team up with the Top of Utah Snowmobile Association to challenge new Wasatch Cache National Forest Plan.



July 7, 2003

Utah - The Blue Ribbon Coalition, Utah Shared Access Alliance, and the Top of Utah Snowmobile Association, today announced they have collectively appealed the Wasatch-Cache National Forest Revised Forest Plan.

“We appreciate the Forest Service’s difficult job in balancing recreational use but this Plan is well wide of the mark”, said Bill Dart of the BlueRibbon Coalition. Garth Barker, of the Top of Utah Snowmobile Association based in Logan, Utah said that the new plan is a real disappointment to recreationists, especially snowmobilers. “We support reasonable regulation of all forms of recreational access, but two-thirds of the treasured snowmobile areas near Mount Naomi have been closed by prior decisions. The Forest Service needs to recognize that further closures are not the answer”, Barker said.

The Forest Service has been in the process of revising the management plan for the Wasatch Cache since early in 1999. Although the current plan dates to the mid 1980’s, many amendments and changes have occurred since that time. The Record of Decision for the Revised Forest Plan was signed March 19, 2003. The new plan will affect virtually every activity that occurs on the forest.

“Its good to see BlueRibbon Coalition helping Utah’s recreationists fight these unfair closures”, said Brian Hawthorne, Director of Utah Shared Access Alliance. “The Wasatch Cache is home to world class snowmobiling. We welcome BlueRibbon’s assistance in our efforts to keep these areas open.”

Hawthorne pointed out that in the popular and widely known snowmobile destinations in what is now the Mount Naomi Wilderness and roadless area, over two-thirds of the land area has been previously closed to motorized access. The new plan further restricts access, making over 80% of the area available exclusively to non-motorized recreationists.

“Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) use is growing in popularity because it is an excellent way to view and enjoy our National Forests,” said Brian Hawthorne of the Utah Shared Access Alliance. “All recreational use, including OHV use, needs to be provided for and properly managed. This plan unwisely and unfairly eliminates opportunities.”

The recreationists noted that the new plan contains little or no justification or scientific analysis to support its new restrictive management. The groups are concerned that the new plan will not allow forest managers to properly manage for diverse and healthy forest, does not properly provide or plan for increase in all forms of recreation, and fails to consider the needs and concerns of local communities.

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The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible use of public lands. It represents over 1,100 organizations and businesses with approximately 650,000 members.

Contact: Bill Dart 208-237-1008 or Brian Hawthorne 801-465-1145



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