The Utah 4 Wheel Drive Association (U4WDA), American Lands Access Association (ALAA) and the Rocky Mountain Federation of Mineralogical Societies (RMFMS) have formed a coalition to stop road closures and the closure of mineralogical collecting sites. Jack Johnston who is a member of all three organizations will be spearheading this effort with county, state, federal, public and private organizations. We are now putting together a list of closed roads/trails started back in 2010 by Kurt Williams, Rocky Mountain Extreme (RME) and U4WDA.
WHEREAS, BLM-Utah administers approximately 23 million acres of public lands in Utah in accordance with “multiple use and sustained yield” mission mandated by the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) (43 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.), and over 6500 miles of identifiable roads have been closed in the state of Utah we are proposing that every effort will be made to keep all roads open and only a Class III survey can be used to close roads. If it becomes necessary to close a road then another previously closed road of equal value will be opened so there is “no net loss” of available roads in the state of Utah.
The first efforts will be the re-opening of the following roads and their associated collecting sites.
1. Paria Canyon closed in 2009 2. Angels Arch gated in 1998 and closed in 2009 3. Canaan Mountain Saw Mill Road Should be RS-2477 closed in 1980, 2007, and 2009
Meetings have been held with the following:
1-12-17 Dirt Hedz Off Road Club, 2-2-17 G S Escalante National Monument Advisory Committee, 2-20-17 Wasatch Gem Club
Anyone wishing to help with these efforts contact their club or Jack Johnston firstname.lastname@example.org
The following explains the latest issues about Escalante and Paria Road.
Being unable to elicit information from the BLM or the GS Escalante Advisory Committee about Paria Canyon Road Jack Johnston contacted Wes Thompson who is a member of the Committee and he sent me this information from Mark Habbeshaw.
The specific document closing the Paria road to motorized travel was the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument (GSENM) management’s administrative decision to close the road based on petitions to close the road submitted to the BLM by SUWA and TWS. The petitions were submitted during the time Kane County was under a federal injunction issued by Judge Tena Campbell not to take any action on roads without quiet title adjudication in federal court. Thus, the county was powerless to stop the closure. The closure took effect shortly after the protest ride up the Paria in 2009. Judge Campbell was subsequently overturned by the 10th Circuit and the Paria is in the current quiet title (QT) lawsuit of over 700 roads in Kane County.
One and one half years prior to the closure the county commission submitted a request for a non-binding determination supporting the public’s RS2477 rights along the road (including all of our documentation supporting the road as a public highway) as per DOI policy under Secretary Norton. Unfortunately, the BLM refused to consider the county’s submission. The county was successful in securing QT to six roads (the first in the nation) and will likely prevail in many more titles in the current QT litigation.
It is my understanding that the current commission is relying on quiet title to resolve road ownership rather than creating an issue by opening the road on the ground. It may be some time before the quiet tile litigation resolves the issue.
There may be an opportunity to resolve the status of the road under the current administration short of quiet title but there are no specific efforts that I am aware of at this time.
I hope this helps your understanding of the history of the road closure.
Mark Habbeshaw Former Kane County Commissioner
With this information Jack has contacted his representative Mia Love to petition the BLM to re-open the road because it has not been damaged thru 100’s of years of use and the original petition was frivolous and took the road out of Public use and made it the domain of healthy hikers only.