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AMA reports U.S. Interior Dept reversal of Wild Lands policySalem-News.com
Federal lawmakers called the "Wild Lands" policy a "land grab" and a blatant attempt to usurp congressional authority.
(WASHINGTON D.C.) - The U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar issued a memorandum directing the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director Robert Abbey to not designate any lands as "Wild Lands." This memorandum reverses Secretarial Order 3310.
The Order, issued December 22, 2010, by Salazar, would have created a new land-use designation that essentially would have allowed BLM to manage public land as if it had received a "Wilderness" land-use designation from Congress, but without requiring congressional approval. This new policy, if remained in place, would have restricted responsible off-highway vehicle (OHV) riding in the affected areas.
Instead, Salazar said the BLM will work in collaboration with members of Congress to identify public land that may be appropriate candidates for congressional protection under the Wilderness Act.
Salazar cited the passage of the Department of Defense and Full-Year. Continuing Appropriations Act, which includes a provision (Section 1769) that prohibits the use of appropriated funds to implement, administer, or enforce Secretarial Order 3310 in Fiscal Year 2011 as his reason to reverse this policy.
A Wilderness designation is one of the strictest forms of public land management. Once Congress designates an area as Wilderness, nearly all forms of non-pedestrian recreation are illegal. The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) supports appropriate Wilderness designations that meet the criteria established by Congress in 1964, but anti-access advocates have been abusing the legislative process to ban responsible OHV recreation on public land.
Federal lawmakers called the "Wild Lands" policy a "land grab" and a blatant attempt to usurp congressional authority. The AMA sent a letter, dated January11, 2011, to Salazar asking him to explain whether the new "Wild Lands" land-use designation will block traditional routes of travel for off-highway riding. To view the letter, click here. To view the BLMs response, click here.
This is a major victory for responsible OHV riders and others concerned about appropriate access to public land. Anti-access groups will continue to push for legislation to inappropriately close off millions of acres of public land to OHVs. Not only are BLM lands under attack by these groups, but U.S. Forest Service land as well. Therefore, the riding community must remain vigilante.
The AMA thanks its members and others who took action on this issue. The Association would like all its members and OHV enthusiasts to thank Salazar for reversing Secretarial Order 3310 today. You can follow the "Take Action" option to send a pre-written e-mail directly to thank him for not designating any lands as "Wild Lands."
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