Monday, February 28, 2011

BLM CLOSURE ALERT! Bear Lake Travel Managment Plan

For some months Offroading Home has been preparing a post comparing the various citizen unfriendly, if not intentionally deceptive, tactics the BLM uses against offroaders in general and senior riders in particular. It's not quite ready yet but an urgent matter requires this short post about yet another BLM "Travel Management Plan" which is underway. This time it's for the massively popular Bear Lake offroad riding area.   [A more in depth discussion of this TMP is available at: Offroading Home Forum.]

The "Travel Management Plan" – you remember, that is what has nearly universally become the BLMs euphemism for their Democrat-Harry-Reid-backed closure of all offroad trails in America. Legally they are required to do it with full disclosure and include citizen feedback; however, BLM offices have gotten "spin doctoring" and subterfuge to the level of an art form.

We will have more to say about it in the future; but for now, all offroaders, especially those in the area, need to know that:

1- The Pocatello Field office, under the direction of Dave Pacioretty [ (208)478-6340] has set a comment deadline one month away – MARCH 24, 2011.

2- Charles (chuck) Patterson, the Recreation Planner [ (208)478-6362] is directing the TMP and will be receiving/collating all your responses.

3- Pacioretty and Patterson have deliberately chosen the short response time to be during the most inaccessible and unused time of year when rider attention is at a minimum. They fully expect that the BLM actions will go largely unnoticed until too late, and be when citizens have absolutely no ability to actually verify or quantify the maps they generate and make comments specific enough to be either useful or even counted!

4- Pacioretty and Patterson have deliberately chosen to publish their closure maps in the most non-usable manner possible: the proprietary .pdf format which prevents copying, or even printing in anything but a completely unusable size.

5- None of their maps have any latitude or longitude information, which is absolutely necessary for correlation with any "good map" or to even tell which trail is being referenced.

6- None of the trails on any of their maps are even labeled or named in any way; again, preventing the competent use of maps and access to information necessary for commenting.

7- Pacioretty's field office has even chosen to split the standard "three choices" maps ("nothing", a "little closure" and "alot of closure") into completely separate files thereby preventing correlation between them, except from memory! Something that even the Las Vegas field office didn't do.

8- Patterson's comment system expects citizen's to utilize yet at least 16 other maps, which look like they've been taken from the USGS topo maps; but, which are cut and pasted without ANY geo-references. There is no way a rider and tell, from these maps which trails are going to be closed and will remain open.

9- There is NO reference to destination names or other landmarks which would provide the citizen fair ability to decide which of their favorite trails will no longer be accessible and which will require hikes.
Even trying to make sense of the maps they are supplying from this office requires an impossible amount of effort for even someone well versed in map reading.

What Needs to Happen

There are several things that should be commented on immediately, even if you aren't able to brave the massive amount of snowfall in the area and scout the trails.

1- Everyone who can should write the above named individuals and make any or all of the points referenced above. Urgently request an extension of citizen comments to enable riders to view the trails and make specific comments. You can reference the extensions just given by the Havasu BLM field office for their TMP - there is precedent for extension of public comment and demand that it be given for the Bear Lake TMP as well!

2- Everyone should also email both individuals about the inadequacy of the maps they have provided in enabling public comment. Send emails to both of the above referenced individuals to urgently request that they produce and supply intended closure maps with geo-references, labels and comparisons of the three proposals. Again, you can cite the maps just released by the Havasu BLM for their TMP which were released in KML (Google Earth) file format. Doing so is the only way to correlate with existing landmarks - which is mandatory due to the lack of trail names and feature labels.

3- Local riders should make their above referenced email's and letters public wherever possible including letters to the editor of area newspapers.

4- Local riders with ability should request the issue be placed on the city and/or county government agenda's for consideration of 'official support' for non-closure. Cite the loss of revenue and definite discrimination against seniors whose hiking ability is limited.

Contact Information

1- The Pocatello Field Office:

4350 Cliffs Drive
Pocatello, ID 83204
Phone: 208-478-6340
Fax: 208-478-6376
Field Manager: Dave Pacioretty
Office hours: 7:45am - 4:30pm, M-F

2- The Recreation Planner, Bear Lake TMP:

Charles Patterson, Recreation Planner
Office phone: (208)478-6362
Address: 4350 Cliffs Drive, Pocatello, Idaho 83204

3- Bear Lake TMP web site: Bear Lake TMP

4- Printable comment form for the Bear Lake TMP - Deadline: 24 March 2011: Bear Lake TMP Printable Comment Form

5- PDF "closure" maps: Option "A" - remain as is;   Option "B" - many closures;   Option "C" - a lot of closures.

Any of you riders who are elected political officials, or who are lawyers could also enlighten us about what other options are available. If Havasu can make an attempt at becoming citizen-friendly - we should expect NO LESS from all of the BLM field offices!


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