News AMA Questions Off-Road Land Closures

AMA Questions Off-Road Land Closures

Motorcycle News

Recently revealed documents show that a federal land management agency has been talking about changing land-use designations on public land that could close from 35 million to 140 million acres to off-highway riding, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.

In a letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar dated Aug. 9, Ed Moreland, AMA senior vice president for government relations, noted that an internal government document indicates the Interior Department may have "a finely detailed plan to exclude Americans from accessing public lands despite the bureau’s assertion that these documents are simply the result of ‘brainstorming sessions.’"

Moreland asked Salazar to explain precisely what the language means in the internal memo produced by the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which is part of the Interior Department.

"According to a news report on Aug. 5 from Salt Lake City-based KLS-TV, a recently obtained BLM document outlines how the federal government is seeking to manage federal lands through more restrictive land management practices," Moreland wrote. "The AMA seeks assurances from you that all dispositions of public lands will be publicly debated before new designations are made."

The internal memo states that some 130 million to 140 million acres — an area roughly the size of Colorado and Wyoming combined — are under consideration for special land-use designations that could further restrict off-highway riding. This is about half of the 264 million acres of public land managed by the BLM.

At another point in the document, the BLM states that about 35 million acres of the land it manages "should be considered for a new and/or heightened conservation designation."

The BLM memo spells out a proposed plan for public land-use designations that could ban off-highway vehicle riding by supporting certain congressional land-use designation proposals, having the president pull an end run around Congress by unilaterally naming areas as national monuments "should the legislative process not prove fruitful" and to use the agency’s internal land-use planning process to accomplish the bureau’s goals for managing "conservation values" when those other two efforts fail.

Ed Moreland says: "This memo doesn’t read like a draft document. It reads like a playbook for shutting the public out of land-use decisions."

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

Helmet Use by U.S. Motorcyclists Trends Higher in Past Decade

Could the availability of better helmet options be part of the reason? According to the U. S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration...

Editor’s Letter: A Very Merry Christmas When I Became An ‘Authentic Motorcyclist’

At the end, my parents handed me a small package. I opened it up, and it was a little booklet. It had pictures of a motorcycle.

2021 AMA Supercross and Motocross Pro Numbers: List and Analysis

Supercross starts up in January, and it’s time to match the latest crop of riders to the numbers on their motorcycles. The biggest news...

Cardo Packtalk Black and Prototype Headset Review: Racing Intercom

Cardo has been well known for its high-quality helmet-to-helmet communication systems for over a decade. Cardo uses Bluetooth technology in both is Packtalk and...

2021 Husqvarna FC 450 Rockstar Edition First Look (8 Fast Facts)

The triumvirate of 2020 AMA 450MX National Champion Zach Osborne, 2018 AMA Supercross Champion Jason Anderson, and Dean Wilson will all be racing motorcycle...

Shoei RF-1400 First Look: New Motorcycle Helmet

The folks at Shoei made the best of our pandemic situation with their unique launch of the new Shoei RF-1400. They shipped us the...