Public lands committee hears from BLM about travel plan

November 11, 2018

KINGMAN — The newly formed Mohave County Public Lands and Recreation Commission held its first meeting Thursday in Kingman to discuss the federal Bureau of Land Management’s travel management plan and motorized recreation report.

BLM is taking public comments on a proposed draft of the travel management plan and includes several options, including taking no action and three options to close some trails and roads on public lands.

Development Services Director Steve Latoski said BLM doesn’t have the resources to maintain some of its roads and trails.

The first step is to take public comments to formulate a draft of the plan before taking the next step, BLM district manager William Mack said.

Also discussed was liability against BLM. Mack said it is very common for visitors to sue the agency if they are injured on the trails or roads.

A rider on a trail may not see a drop off into a mine shaft in the middle of that trail, especially in the early morning or late evening, Mack said, and there has to be a funding source for signs to warn visitors of dangers.

BLM is a multiple-use agency which needs to consider other users such as ranchers, hikers, horseback riders, miners and private property owners, not just off-road users, Mack said.

District 1 Sup. Gary Watson said one problem is the overpopulation of burros, especially in the Black Mountains, and the damage they do to native species.

One speaker said it should be up to her and other off-road riders to decide whether to use a road regardless of the condition, and she opposed BLM closing a road just because it couldn’t be maintained.

One commissioner also spoke of the need to take into account the economic impact to the county of numerous off-road groups with hundreds of riders and not just environmental concerns.

District 2 Sup. Hildy Angius recommended asking Mack for another extension for public comments but Mack said there is no guarantee of an extension.

The commission will hold another meeting Wednesday before sending recommendations to the county supervisors for their Nov. 19 meeting.

The commissioners include Robert Sieberg and Robert Smith for District 2, Rick Swats and William Martin for District 4 and Doug Wisdom and Daniel Rodriguez for District 1. There are no commission members from District 3 or 5.

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