Upon analyzing the federal government's own data, we have come to the shocking realization that over 100,000 miles of existing roads are currently closed on National Forest land.
The first map below is a visual representation of that claim. This map, however, is incomplete and does not include multiple national forests that have not published a motor vehicle use map. This map shows roads that have been closed and excluded from the motor vehicle use map through the travel management Rule and various other means.
The second map is an incomplete visual representation of roads closed on both national forest and Bureau of Land Management land in Arizona. Like the first map, this map does not include national forests that have not published a motor vehicle-used map. It also does not include approximately 14 travel management areas on the Bureau of Land Management land where travel management has yet to be completed.
I post this because I want people to understand that road closures and public land restrictions are nothing new. This has been ongoing for decades and has very little to do with the disrespectful user. Federal land managers assert that your presence is enough to fragment wildlife, pollute water and air, and destroy critical endangered species habitat.
The people must realize that we are slowly and systematically being locked out of our public lands resulting from a significant shift in Land Management objectives that took place in the early 2000s.
Since that time, federal agencies have shifted away from a decentralized activity-based approach to the management of Roads which has overshadowed the needs of local communities and tied the hands of local Foresters. Instead, federal agencies have opted for a more centralized approach to Land Management that prioritizes conservation over traditional Land Management practices.
The difference is this:
Activity-Based Approach: In an activity-based approach, land management decisions may be more decentralized and tailored to specific activities and local conditions. Regional Foresters or field-level managers may have greater control and flexibility in managing roads based on the needs of various user groups and activities. They can adjust road management strategies to accommodate different types of activities such as timber harvesting, recreation, and wildlife management.
Conservationist Approach: In a conservationist approach, the focus is on protecting and preserving natural resources. This approach often involves more centralized and stringent regulations to minimize the environmental impact of roads. Decisions may be made at higher administrative levels with a stronger emphasis on resource protection and less flexibility for accommodating various activities.
Under the activity-based approach to land management, decisions to close roads and areas depended on good stewardship and Trail etiquette among motorized user groups. Education was essential and our organized clubs could satisfy local Ranger districts by maintaining roads, picking up trash, and restoring historical sites.
The shift away from an activity-based approach has created significant negative consequences. It has allowed multiple issues to continue unchecked and has placed its remedies in the hands of a distant and out-of-touch capital.
We must take back local control of our roads and make these issues a top priority for the next election.