A recent Bureau of Land Management proposal to fully double off-road vehicle miles in the Western Mojave Desert is as outrageous as it sounds. The agency's plan allots 10,428 miles to roads for dirt bikes and four-wheelers -- the distance between Alaska and Tierra Del Fuego in South America -- when what the area needs is fewer routes, not more.
More ORV routes will further degrade desert streams, increase soil erosion and worsen air quality problems. And these routes will tear up habitat used by imperiled wildlife such as desert tortoises, Mojave fringe-toed lizards and Lane Mountain milkvetch.
A 2005 court order specifically requires BLM to apply minimization criteria when designating routes, but the agency's draft plan fails on all accounts.
June 4, 2015 Action Alert ID# 230
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