Balancing trails, wilderness, and ATVs in Moab’s backcountry

Nov 3, 2023

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently finalized the Labyrinth Rims/Gemini Bridges Travel Management Plan that will guide land management decisions for a 300,000-acre landscape to the north of Moab for years to come. The plan will help protect cultural sites, riparian habitat, and the experience of non-motorized recreationists while allowing for motorized recreation on more than 800 miles of dirt trails and routes.

The state of Utah and two off-highway vehicle groups have filed administrative appeals challenging the BLM’s recently finalized plan. These groups are arguing that the closures violate the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other federal laws, and were “arbitrary and capricious.”

Aaron and Kate are joined by Laura Peterson, staff attorney with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, on the most recent episode of CWP’s The Landscape podcast to talk about the BLM’s plan and how it addresses motorized recreation among other concerns.

Peterson points out that it’s both an incredibly beautiful and scenic area as well as a very popular destination for all kinds of recreators. “There are over 1,200 miles of designated routes, which makes it nearly impossible to escape sort of the sight and sound of off road vehicles,” said Peterson. She also notes that despite the BLM’s proposed closures “there’s still more than 800 miles of routes in that area” that remain open to four-wheeler trucks, all-terrain vehicles, and dirt bikes.

Quick hits

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Who is Laura Daniel-Davis, acting deputy Interior secretary?

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Balancing trails, wilderness, and ATVs in Moab’s backcountry

The Landscape  | Salt Lake Tribune | Deseret News | E&E News

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Quote of the day

Everyone who has worked alongside Laura Daniel-Davis has seen firsthand that she is immensely qualified to help steward our wildlife and natural resources. We look forward to working with her in this new role.”

—Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, E&E News

Picture This

A vast landscape with rugged mountains rising sharply from the surrounding desert plains and several bright green cholla cacti in the foreground.


Kofa National Wildlife Refuge is the second largest wilderness area in Arizona with extremely rugged mountains rising sharply from the surrounding desert plains. The refuge is home to the desert bighorn sheep and the California fan palm, the only native palm in Arizona.

The vast landscape and the solitude of wilderness provide unique recreational opportunities, including backpacking, biking and camping.

Photo by Dan Mitler

#wilderness #arizona #publiclands #cactus

Featured image: vehicles driving in the Labyrinth Rims Gemini Bridges Travel Management Area. Source: BLM Utah, Flickr