The National Park Service announced last Friday the release of the Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement for Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The plan analyzes a range of alternatives and actions for managing off-road use of motor vehicles as well as on-road use of off-highway vehicles and street-legal all-terrain vehicles.
Glen Canyon Superintendent Billy Shott said he is excited that the plan is moving forward.
“The Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan, or ORV plan as we like to call it for short, has been under development since 2007,” Shott said. “I am excited that the plan is moving forward at this stage and I hope we’ll be able to take action in the near future to protect the exciting recreational opportunities offered to visitors at Glen Canyon, while continuing to preserve the natural and cultural resources that make our park special to them and millions of other visitors from around the world.”
The plan compares the environmental impacts that could result from continuing current management strategy, or implementing any of the four action alternatives. After a waiting period of at least 30 days, the National Park Service will issue a Record of Decision documenting the alternative that has been selected. The alternative that is selected will then be adopted as a special regulation governing off-road use of motor vehicles, as well as on-road use of off-highway and all-terrain vehicles at Glen Canyon.
Garfield, Kane, San Juan and Wayne counties cooperated in the development of the Off-Road Management Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement. Shott said he is pleased that the process to draft the plan was a collaborative effort that incorporated input from multiple stakeholders.
“I’m very pleased with the response we’ve had to developing the Off-road Vehicle Management Plan,” Shott said. “We gathered input and comments from the general public at numerous venues, received input from the Bureau of Land Management, and had input from the Utah counties that border our park. I think the plan we’ve prepared together is very representative of the balanced approach we need to manage off-road use in Glen Canyon.”
Shott said that the plan was prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and would guide management of off-road vehicle recreation at Glen Canyon once a record of decision is issued by the National Park Service Intermountain Regional Office. Five alternatives were considered in the development of the plan.
Alternative A, the "no-action" alternative, represents the continuation of existing management policies related to the use of off-road vehicles in Glen Canyon. Alternative B, the environmentally preferred alternative, would only allow motorized vehicle use on existing park roads. Alternative C, the recreation opportunity preferred alternative, would expand recreational opportunities by increasing the number of off-road routes in the park as well as the expanding the types of vehicles that would be allowed on park roads. Alternative D would limit the number of off-road vehicle routes and areas and prohibits the operation of off-highway and all-terrain vehicles throughout Glen Canyon. Alternative E, the National Park Service preferred alternative, designates a mixture of opportunities for motorized recreation on park roads and designated off-road routes, and certain shoreline areas, but prohibits such use in areas where natural or cultural resources may be at risk.
The National Park Service preferred alternative, Alternative E, maintains many of the off and on-road recreational opportunities that are currently available at Glen Canyon, though some routes and areas not designated under the plan will be closed and restored. It also includes provisions to develop a comprehensive communication plan that will improve signage and route markings, inform visitors about park regulations concerning off-road vehicle use, and educate visitors on the unique resources in the park and ways they can help protect them. A permit system will be implemented to facilitate communication with visitors, and recover costs associated with monitoring routes, providing visitor safety, and mitigating damages to natural and cultural resources.
To seek additional information, obtain a copy of the plan, or provide comments, please visit http://parkplanning.nps.gov/glca-orvplan.