Restrictive Federal Wild Lands Policy on Hold for This Fiscal Year

Restrictive Federal Wild Lands Policy on Hold for This Fiscal Year
The funding measure that keeps the federal government operating through Sept. 30 includes language that bars the U.S. Interior Department from using any money to carry out the new Wild Lands land-use policy, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.

The Fiscal Year 2011 Continuing Resolution — which was approved by Congress and signed into law by President Obama on April 15 — specifically states that no federal money “may be used to implement, administer, or enforce Secretarial Order No. 3310 issued by the Secretary of the Interior on Dec. 22, 2010.”

“This is a major victory for responsible off-highway vehicle [OHV] riders and others concerned about appropriate access to public land,” said Ed Moreland, AMA senior vice president for government relations. “But we can’t let up. Anti-access groups will continue pushing for implementation of the Wild Lands policy for the next federal fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.”

Secretarial Order 3310 created the Wild Lands land-use policy. The policy essentially allows federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) officials to manage public land as if it had received a Wilderness designation from Congress, but without requiring congressional approval.

This new policy, if implemented, 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.

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