Land Use, Access and the Rubicon Trail by Del Albright
 

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2010 Landuse Terms NLCS
 

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The BLM is attempting to turn into a pseudo-park system according to some watchers of government. In fact, Dave Skinner, a Montana based writer, in RANGE magazine (Winter 2011 issue) said the current plan for BLM from the Obama Administration called, Our Vision, Our Values, “ lays out a long-term strategy of empire building on a colossal scale, including a complete transformation of the BLM away from its historic multiple use mission in to the world’s largest zoo.”

BlueRibbon Coalition, Public Lands Department, headed by Brian Hawthorne, has reported and advised on the changes in public lands administration, as well as the dangers for motorized access, since the Babbitt/Clinton days. 

Bottom line: BLM is headed towards a landscape where historic uses like mining and grazing will be a thing of the past, and motorized recreation certainly discouraged, if not forbidden in many places.    Time for tolerance of government stealing our heritage has run out. Time for action is here!

Note that the Treasured Landscape and AGOI described below are moving targets;  not done deals.  BRC and other groups are engaged to protect multiple use/sustained yield.  The following pages/links will be updated when needed so you should stay tuned.

Here are my observations and summaries to help put this in perspective.

Dave Skinner called the beginning of this mess, the Babbitt/Clinton “Monument Orgy.”   Because they couldn’t turn all of BLM into one big National Park,  today we are facing initiatives and administrative things like:

National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS)
Treasured Landscapes
America’s Great Outdoor’s Initiative (AGOI)
National Conservation Areas (NCA)

And the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) that funds a lot of these “initiatives” and changes.

Treasured Landscapes is the work of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, that includes new Wilderness areas, expanded National Parks and 14 new or expanded National Monument designations.  Read more about it here on the site of BlueRibbon Coalition: http://www.sharetrails.org/public-lands/?section=treasured-landscapes

America’s Great Outdoors Initiative (AGOI) is an ambitious Obama administration new conservation agenda that will attempt to “take over” public and private lands in order to promote outdoor recreation among young Americans.  The appearance here is that it’s very hard to separate Treasured Landscapes from AGOI, and in the bottom line, it does not appear good for motorized recreation.  Read more on BlueRibbon’s website here: http://www.sharetrails.org/public-lands/?section=AGOI

National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS) is classic “incremental politics,” according to Dave Skinner, where if we can’t make the Parks right away, we take baby steps to do that, like in the old days when places like Death Valley went from National Monument to National Park to mostly Wilderness.  Just another take-away for motorized recreation.    Pick up or subscribe to RANGE magazine to get the full article by Dave Skinner about NLCS and Our Vision; Our Values plan at http://www.rangemagazine.com

National Conservation Areas (NCA) and National Recreation Areas (NRA) are not bad ways to manage public lands.  In fact, BlueRibbon recommends suggesting these designations in some cases over Wilderness, for sure.  But the “Plan” of Our Vision; Our Values, in Part II will buy checkerboard pattern landscapes, try to run out private land in-holdings, and engulf NCA’s that already exist in some cases – thus taking them away from their intended purpose.  Again, this sounds like what Mr. Skinner called “incremental politics.”  Read more about Alternatives to Wilderness on the BlueRibbon website here: http://www.sharetrails.org/public-lands/?section=WildernessAlternative

Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is a fund that diverts federal excise taxes from offshore oil and gas development for state and local conservation programs such as buying private lands and otherwise increasing the federal estate.  It’s all about protection, conservation, and most non-use by motorized recreationists.

Then, when you tie in the new USDA Forest Service Planning Rule (http://www.sharetrails.org/public-lands/?section=FS_Planning_Rule), you really get the feeling that historic responsible motorized recreation is not high on the party invite list.

WHAT TO DO?
Time for action.  When asked by those in the game, please jump in with both feet.  Write your letters; make the calls; join the groups that fit your idea of making stuff happen. Learn as much as you can based on the time you have.  Here is another link for what one of my main landuse partners calls “Civics 101.”

Check it out on John Stewart’s landuse overview info on 4x4Voice.com here: http://www.4x4voice.com/index.php/civics-101

RANGE Magazine is a great publication about the way of life in the American West, as well as access to our public and privatre lands with less government interference. Subscribe and learn more here: http://www.rangemagazine.com/

Breaking News Update 11/16/2010 about Sec'y Salazar and new "order" for NLCS here.

Breaking News Update 11/18/2010: A whole new process is also just getting underway; the Travel Analysis Process which is part of the Travel Management Rule (continued), Subpart A. Stay tuned for sure.

Del


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