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Bald Mountain - Just Because You Can Get There, Doesn't Mean You Belong There - 4 Word

Posted in Features on December 22, 2006
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No, that's not our new motto here at 4 Wheel Drive & Sport Utility. However, it does seem to be the new motto being adopted by the Bureau of Land Management in Nevada. Dealing another blow to land-use rights, the BLM, which controls about 80 percent of the public land in Nevada, is now pursuing a "closed unless specifically open" policy, which means that unless there is a sign at the head of a trail declaring that it's open to use, you may assume that it is legally closed.

The BLM has begun with the Pine Nut Mountain area, where citizens have been informed of the following: 4No single track trails will remain open for use. 4Most two-track trails will be closed. 4The El Dorado Canyon area will be closed. 4The Bald Mountain area will be closed

The BLM will be reviewing each planning area and determining which trails will remain open to public use. However, at this point, it is clear that the organization will not be seeking public support or commentary on the proposed closures. A 90-day period will be set aside for mapping each of the planning areas, after which no future additions will be allowed.

If the Pine Nut Mountain area is any indication of how the rest of the state will be dealt with, then the off-roading community can say goodbye to Nevada. According to Bob Abbey, the BLM Nevada state director, this form of management will be applied to the entire state.

Whether you live in Nevada or elsewhere, we should all be outraged by such a unilateral approach to land management. There have been no discussions, no referendums, and no votes. Simply a public announcement that we are going to be stripped of our right to use millions of acres of public land. Some may be tempted to turn a blind eye and say it's only one state, but history is replete with examples of people who have done just that, only to lose everything in the end.

If this type of heavy-handed bureaucratic decision-making is allowed to stand in Nevada, I suggest that it could all too easily be viewed as a precedent for other states to follow. Speak up now, while there's still someone listening.

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