Off-Roaders Welcome Introduction of Utah Public Lands Initiative

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

Leaders within the Utah Congressional delegation introduced a Public Lands Initiative (PLI) bill to finalize land-use designations covering more than 18 million acres of land in seven eastern and southern Utah counties. Spearheaded by U.S. House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), the proposal is the product of three years of work and more than 1,200 meetings with stakeholder groups, including local communities, off-road groups, environmentalists, logging, grazing and energy interests. Of particular interest to the off-road community, the PLI creates motorized recreation zones in San Juan and Grand Counties encompassing more than 375,000 acres, along with a 93-mile red rock OHV trail connecting towns in Emery, Grand and San Juan Counties.

SEMA supports the PLI’s collaborative approach to making final designations in order to provide certainty regarding how land is managed, including wilderness, conservation and recreation areas. Without the legislation, 1.4 million acres of land may soon be designated by President Obama as the Bears Ears National Monument. Such a listing would prohibit new roads or trails and require drafting of a new land management plan that could lead to more road closures.  

For more information, contact Eric Snyder at