by KREX News Room by Danielle Kreutter
Story Created: Jan 30, 2013 at 9:02 PM MST
Story Updated: Jan 30, 2013 at 10:27 PM MST
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - The Bureau of Land Management has started drafting their new Resource Management Plan (RMP) to decide how the agency should handle public lands for the next 20 years.
An informational meeting was held Wednesday where folks expressed their concerns with some of the changes that may come with the new plan.
Land Access Advocate, Brandon Siegfried, was one of those who spoke to a crowded room of people concerned about the potential changes that may come with the BLM's Resource Management Plan.
"What is this going to do for our local economy? How are hunters going to react? How are recreationists going to react when they can no longer go out and enjoy the public lands they're been enjoying for decades," said Siegfried.
Those against the plan's draft say that Mesa County Commissioners should join the other counties that have enforced the Revised Situate 2477.
RS-2477 is a law that was active from 1866-1976 which would give the public the right to access any roads on public lands.
"[The roads were] built during that time period, we have a right to access and a right to continue to use those roads and access ways," said Siegfried.
Officials with the BLM say due to federal restrictions, pleasing everyone through multi-use lands and roads has become difficulty.
"We're doing it as a part of a process known as NEPA, the National Environmental Policy Act, and we have to adhere to that. We understand that everyone has specific interests and right now is the perfect time to be making those comments known," said Chris Joyner of the Bureau of Land Management.
"Mesa County has considerable history of working closely with the Bureau of Land Management to establish and assert our rights of ways across public lands," said Steve Acquafresca, Mesa County Commissioner.
Some folks are concerned that the BLM's new Resource Management Plan will restrict access to their public lands.
" The RMP is trying to close down 2100 miles of roads in the area and the BLM does not recognize RS-2477 as a legal right of way," said Siegfried.
"The matter being discussed is more on the designations of certain areas as opposed to being closed ... no BLM lands are going to be closed as a matter of the Resource Management Plan," said Joyner.
The BLM will be accepting public comment on their plan until April.
They will be holding a series of public input meetings before finalizing the Resource Management Plan.
The next meeting will be held at the Clarion Inn on Horizon Drive in Grand Junction on January 31. The meeting will run from 4:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom.
Click here to read the Resource Management Plan options and to get more information on how to leave a comment.