Public comment sought for Glen Canyon’s off-road vehicle plan

Off-road vehicle use in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of National Park Service, St. George News

PAGE, Ariz. — The National Park Service released proposed special regulations to manage off-road vehicle and on-road all-terrain vehicle use within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which will set the path to soon finalize its ORV management plan, according to a press release from the agency.

The proposed regulations may be found in the Federal Register and will be available to the public to provide comments through April 30.

The proposed special regulations permit off-road use along 14 accessible shorelines, at Lone Rock Beach and Play Area, and on approximately 21 miles of ORV routes.

The regulations would also allow ORV use on unpaved roads identified in the general management plan south of the Orange Cliffs Unit, which were previously open only to conventional vehicles and street-legal ATVs.

ORV use would also be authorized on approximately 8 miles of road in the southern portion of the Orange Cliffs Unit, which would complete the 100-mile Poison Spring Loop located on National Park Service and adjacent Bureau of Land Management lands.

Lastly, the special regulations include a permit system for ORVs accessing shorelines, the Lone Rock Beach and Play Area, and most ORV routes. The permit fees would support education and provide cost recovery for administration and monitoring of the program.

“The Off-Road Vehicle management plan has been a collaborative effort with the public, other government agencies, tribes and Utah counties that border Glen Canyon National Recreation Area,” said Glen Canyon Superintendent William Shott. “The resulting proposed special regulations are very representative of the balanced approach we need to manage public lands, including off-road use in Glen Canyon.”

Following the public comment period, the National Park Service will finalize a record of decision and implement the ORV management plan. The park service used the comments it received while evaluating the environmental impact statement for the ORV management plan to inform the basis for the proposed special regulations.

The proposed special regulations are available for public review and comment online. Search for the regulation identifier number: 1024-AD93.

Comments may also be mailed to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, 691 Scenic View Drive, Page, AZ 86040. For additional information or to download a copy of the EIS/ORV plan, click here.

Comprehensive planning and public participation to manage ORV and ATV use began in 2007 with public scoping. Throughout the planning process, the park service consulted with cooperating agencies, elected officials, tribes and the Arizona and Utah State Historic Preservation Officers.

The park service also solicited public comments while evaluating the draft EIS (released in January 2014) and the final EIS (released in January 2017). The ORV EIS analyzes a range of alternatives to evaluate off-road use by conventional and nonconventional motor vehicles and on-road use by nonconventional motor vehicles.

“We believe we have reached the appropriate balance for how to protect the many recreational opportunities offered to visitors at Glen Canyon, while continuing to preserve the natural and cultural resources that make the recreation area special to local residents and to millions of visitors from around the world,” Shott said.

The ORV EIS and resulting special regulations do not evaluate the opening or closing of roads nor the validity of any R.S. 2477 claims (rights-of-way) on roads within the recreation area.

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