SEMA eNews, Vol. 10, No. 17 – April 25, 2007
OFF-ROAD TRAILS (AND SALES) THREATENED IN WASHINGTON, UTAH
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation to create a 106,000-acre wilderness area in Washington's Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. The SEMA-opposed bill would close existing roads and trails. SEMA supports an alternative approach that would set aside 13,000 acres to allow the continued use of these routes.
Wilderness designations are consequential to SEMA members since they potentially deny access to off-roaders and curtail the equipment they purchase for back-country activities. SEMA supports cooperative approaches to wilderness issues, such as establishing adjacent or nearby areas that are open to off-highway use. This includes “cherry-stem” roads as off-road corridors within the wilderness areas.
Congressional Democrats have also introduced legislation called “America's Red Rock Wilderness Act” to set aside 9.4 million acres of land in Utah as wilderness. The land is controlled by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and is located in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Capitol Reef National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and other areas.
The goal of the legislation is to prevent road building, mining and drilling operations and off-road vehicle use. For example, the bill threatens to close nearly 700 miles of legal, designated off-road trails in the San Rafael Swell. The SEMA-opposed legislation was introduced by lawmakers from Illinois and New York and lacks the support of the Utah Congressional delegation.
SEMA is working with other organizations in the off-road community such as the Off-Road Business Association (ORBA), Blue Ribbon Coalition (BRC), Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) and American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) on these and other bills in Congress that threaten existing roads and trails. For details, contact Jason Tolleson at firstname.lastname@example.org