I provided an update to our members over on the BlueRibbon Coalition's website (http://www.sharetrails.org) today that I also thought appropriate to share over here because it is indicative of what I have literally seen from both coasts--and points in between--on this tour. Read my update below. Meanwhile, I am finishing up in Arizona and headed toward New Mexico for a couple more meetings and then home. The meetings I have had in Arizona have been awesome, but that is the subject of another post here. Hopefully I will have some time this weekend for that.
An Update From BRC's Executive Director
I want to encourage everyone to read Brian Hawthorne's editorial this week. I give you fair warning, what the National Park Service (NPS) is doing here is outrageous. https://www.sharetrails.org/public-lands/nps-oyster-stew-betrayal-deja-vu
When I watched the associated video Brian linked to, I was outraged, but I cannot say I was surprised. The vicious betrayal by the NPS of a family owned oyster farm is outrageous, but the fact that they used trumped up science to do it seems to me sadly typical of today's U.S. Department of Interior. I have been all across the US on my Turn the Tide Tour, and have seen this literally from Cape Hatteras on the Atlantic to Point Reyes on the Pacific.
Best available science my eye! More like "most convenient trumped-up allegation."
Science in the Department of the Interior has become a joke, and the agency should be ashamed. I can't help but ask, "At what point does the personal opinion of agency leadership outweigh actual public policy?" You shouldn't be able to twist the science and rewrite history to suit your agenda.
While we are on the subject of the DOI...
Here is a quick Update on the Canyonlands Monument proposal. I want to thank our supporters who responded to our recent blast on the proposal to designate a massive new National Monument in southeastern Utah.
The issue has gotten a lot of national media attention, including in key Washington DC based natural resource newsletters (https://www.sharetrails.org/public-lands/all-sides-take-shot-canyonlands...).
In our original update (found here: https://www.sharetrails.org/public-lands/important-follow-up-on-massive-...), BRC's Brian Hawthorne noted:
"I have been personally involved in numerous collaborative efforts to determine how these prized recreational lands are managed, both as a recreationist who loves visiting the area and also as a representative of the BlueRibbon Coalition, a national OHV advocacy group.
The Outdoor Industry Association's advocacy arm has lost all credibility. Their letter requesting that President Obama establish a new National Monument is nothing less than an end-run around local and state efforts to consider how best to protect these lands. Their requests pulls the rug out from under those who will be most likely to be impacted by land use decisions - local citizens - as they hammer out compromises."
Indeed, San Juan County is an example of how to do it right. This last Monday, the County and the Navajo Nation signed a formalized agreement to "work together in the spirit of mutual respect and cooperation to recognize and consider how to effectively manage the outstanding natural, cultural and recreational resources on state and federal lands in San Juan County, as well as the socio-economic conditions for the enhancement of the quality of life for all San Juan County residents."
Mark Maryboy, the County representative for the Navaho Nation was quoted as saying:
"Navajos have always felt that the local people, whether they be Navajo or non-Navajo, should be at the forefront of discussing public lands."
Maryboy added that the proposed Greater Canyonlands National Monument effort, which has received support from a variety of national groups, should begin as a local effort.
Sadly, 100 outdoor retailers disagree. In a letter to the President (found here: http://www.sharetrails.org/uploads/Outdoor_Industry_Association_Letter.pdf) They seem to be doubling down on their request for President Obama to do an "end run" around these local collaborative efforts, and unilaterally designate a massive 1.4 million acres National Monument.
Read about the San Juan County/Navaho Nation agreement here: http://www.sjrnews.com/view/full_story/20959943/article-San-Juan-County-...
The issue has also brought some much needed attention on a very dangerous lawsuit filed by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA). After years of sitting dormant, it has been resurrected in the U.S. District Court in Utah, and could close some of the most nationally significant motorized recreation trails in Moab, Cainville and the San Rafael Swell.
Whatever the threat, BRC is committed to defend OHV recreation across the U.S. As Hawthorne noted in his editorial, we aren't surprised by much anymore. Just resolved to fight harder.
Thank you all for your support,
Learn about the SUWA lawsuit in our most recent Utah update: http://www.sharetrails.org/public-lands/utah-land-use-update-spring-summ...
Learn more about and support our Legal Program: http://www.sharetrails.org/legal