View Full Version : GREAT FRONT PAGE article in the AZ Republic today about offroading.

05-13-2008, 03:09 PM
First off...i'd like to thank the AZR for getting their facts straight and painting a completely unbasis picture of our lovely sport.

I think we should all post comments on their site THANKING THEM.

Enjoy the article below.....











Vehicle ban set for desert park
Sonoran Desert swath extensively damaged
129 commentsby Ginger D. Richardson - May. 13, 2008 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

Starting next month, a huge swath of the Sonoran Desert National Monument, one of the state's most prized parcels of public land, will be closed to off-road enthusiasts.

The federal Bureau of Land Management is banning all vehicular traffic, including motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, from 55,000 acres of the popular desert wilderness because of extensive environmental damage.

The closure is expected to last two to three years. During that time, the area, which includes nearly 89 miles of vehicle routes, will be open only to hikers and equestrians.

Land-use officials and conservationists say the action is necessary because reckless riders have torn up the soil, ripped up the native plant cover and marred the desert landscape with illegal dumping.

"There are places in this closure (area) that look like a moonscape because the recklessness of these vehicles has been so extensive," said Daniel Patterson, Southwest director for Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. "There is no plant life there at all."

The Sonoran Desert National Monument encompasses nearly 500,000 acres of public land about one hour's drive southwest of Phoenix. It is home to three congressionally designated wilderness areas, archaeological and historic sites, and a trio of mountain ranges.

The number of visitors to the area skyrocketed with the population growth in nearby communities like Gila Bend and Maricopa.

Land officials say they hope to restore the habitat by evening out the vehicle tracks and planting new vegetation.

"Basically, much of what we do is manual labor, hand labor, because we don't want to use equipment that will cause more damage than it actually repairs," said Karen Kelleher, acting field manager for the BLM's Lower Sonoran Office.

They also plan an extensive public-education program and are developing a future land-use plan designed to both improve recreational opportunities and minimize future environmental problems.

News of the coming ban was not a surprise to off-road enthusiasts. Don Hood of Cave Creek is vice president of the Arizona Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition. He said his organization understands that a lot of damage has occurred in the desert area south of the Valley.

"The explosion of off-highway vehicles has led to an increase of people out there who think this is just a game," Hood said. "They don't know the rules, they don't know where to go, they don't know right from wrong, because no one has ever taught them."

The new ban brings with it stiff penalties. Those who violate the order by heading into the closed area with a motor vehicle could face a $1,000 fine and up to one year in prison, said Pamela Mathis, public-affairs specialist for the BLM. Recreational users who are found to have caused damage to the area's resources could be hit with up to $100,000 in fines.

The ban is expected to take effect in mid-June, or 30 days after the BLM's order is published in the Federal Register. That publication is expected on Wednesday.


Oh...here's the link....BE NICE NOW.....