PICKERINGTON, Ohio — A coalition of influential groups representing the interests of millions of off-highway vehicle (OHV) riders wants answers to key questions about the new federal Wild Lands policy, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.

In a letter dated March 16 to Bob Abbey, director of the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the coalition asked numerous questions related to the Wild Lands policy, which could close millions of acres of federal land to responsible motorized recreation.

The coalition also stressed that there is strong grass-roots opposition to the new policy.

The coalition is made up of the AMA, the All-Terrain Vehicle Association, the Trails Preservation Alliance, the Colorado Off Highway Vehicle Coalition, the Utah Shared Access Alliance, AMA District 36 (Northern California, Northwestern Nevada), AMA District 37 Off-Road Division (Southern California) and the California Off-Road Vehicle Association.

On Dec. 22, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar signed Secretarial Order 3310 creating the Wild Lands land-use designation that essentially allows BLM officials to manage public land as if it had received a Wilderness designation from Congress, but without requiring congressional approval. This new policy is widely expected to restrict or eliminate responsible OHV use in the affected areas.

A Wilderness designation is one of the most restrictive forms of public land management. Once Congress designates an area as Wilderness, nearly all forms of non-pedestrian recreation are illegal. The AMA supports appropriate Wilderness designations that meet the criteria established by Congress in 1964, but anti-access advocates have been abusing the legislative process to ban responsible OHV recreation on public land.

“As associations that represent the interests of millions of responsible motorized recreation enthusiasts, we oppose the new Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Lands policy,” the coalition wrote. “We have questions concerning the definition of Wild Lands, designations, and implementation plans as they relate to motorized recreation within Secretarial Order 3310.

“Moreover, we seek to clarify indications that you believe there is no grass-roots opposition to this order,” the letter said. “We, the undersigned, believe this new designation may severely restrict the ability of our members to responsibly recreate on public lands managed by the BLM.”

To view the letter, click here: http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/Libraries/Rights_Documents_Federal/20110316_Coalition_WildLands_Abbey.sflb.ashx?download=true.

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