It seems like every week I review a new Resource Management Plan, Travel Management Plan or Environmental Impact Statement that declares off-highway-vehicle use on America’s land must be restricted.
Let me say that again, our government is saying our access to our public lands must be restricted.
The American Motorcyclist Association believes that America’s public lands are one of our nation’s treasures and wants to protect riding areas in a responsible and permanent manner. At the same time, we are not unreasonable and recognize that some areas must be closed due to environmental reasons.
We believe that federal land management agencies should rethink their current RMP, TMP and EIS frameworks. Typically, when revising all of these documents, the agencies start off with a “no change” alternative. As a result, access for motorized vehicles can only be cut – and all too often it is.
Shouldn’t all new land management plans include at least one scenario in which motorized recreation is optimized?
Think about it. What if every report the federal Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service or the National Park Service delivered included an answer to the following questions: Can there be more motorized recreation without significant environmental harm? If so, how do we achieve this? If not, where can we add recreational opportunities to offset losses without doing lasting harm?
It seems like a fair and equitable policy to me. While we may not always like the answers we are receiving, at least the appropriate questions will be asked and answered.
In 2014, the AMA will be asking all federal land management agencies – and key lawmakers – to support this new paradigm of resource management in order to increase recreational opportunities on America’s public lands.