Groups urge BLM to keep off-road vehicles out of Labyrinth Canyon / Public News Service
Conservation groups say more needs to be done to protect the natural and cultural resources of Utah’s Labyrinth Canyon from off-road vehicles.
The Bureau of Land Management is collecting comments through Oct. 7 on a draft travel management plan for the Labyrinth Canyon and Gemini Bridges area outside of Moab.
Laura Peterson, staff attorney for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, said more than 1,200 miles of all-terrain vehicle routes cover the area.
“Motorized vehicles are allowed in parts along the river and in a number of side canyons,” she said, “and it really impacts riparian areas, habitat, soils, the vegetation, but also the experience on the river”.
The BLM has released four plan options to determine vehicle use in the regions for decades to come. Peterson argued that the plan known as “Alternative B” is the only one that would protect the entire river corridor while reducing road density in Gold Bar Rim, Deadman Point, Day Canyon and other pristine areas. .
There are 40 miles of the Green River flowing through Labyrinth Canyon. Peterson noted that it is a wild and scenic river designated for its recreational, scenic, ecological and cultural values.
“It’s one of the few places in the West where you get a flatwater wilderness experience. And it’s this unique location, where the Emery County side of the river is protected wilderness and the Grand County side is not,” she said. “And so, it creates disparate management on each side.”
According to the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, more than 94 percent of the land in the Labyrinth Canyon and Gemini Bridges area is within half a mile of a designated all-terrain vehicle route. Peterson said reducing route density and minimizing user conflict is important for those seeking quiet recreation in the area.
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