Some worried about restricted access in Labyrinth Rims Gemini Bridges area due to BLM assessment period

Published: Apr. 26, 2021 at 10:33 AM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Off-roaders across eastern Utah and western Colorado are keeping a close eye on the Labyrinth Rims Gemini Bridges area near Moab as word has emerged that the Bureau of Land Management is conducting an Environmental Assessment in the area, which could restrict some use to trails.

In a statement, BLM said, “Travel and transportation are integral to the use and enjoyment of public lands. The Bureau of Land Management is initiating an Environmental Assessment analyzing motorized access of public lands in the Labyrinth Rims/Gemini Bridges Travel Management Area, which covers approximately 303,993 acres in Grand County and has 1,232 miles of inventoried routes on BLM-managed lands.”

From this release, many fears have surfaced that all 300,000+ acres of land will be shut down, but the BLM says this is not the case. This assessment will not close the area wholesale, but during this period the BLM will examine each travel route and trail in the area, and then classify the trail as either open, limited, or closed.

Asked whether or not how many routes will be closed after this period, a BLM spokesperson says they do not expect many trails to be affected.

Examinations of this kind are normally conducted every 15-20 years, and the last examination in the Labyrinth Rims Gemini Bridges area occurred in 2008. Due to litigation brought against the BLM by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance that criticized the 2008 examination of not being thorough enough, the BLM was pushed to redo the process a few years before they planned.

To learn more on the project, head to the BLM website here.

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