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Off-road group, Havasu 4-Wheelers, wants trail preserved

January 4, 2019

A short road is getting a lot of attention in Mohave County.

One of the newly-formed Mohave County Public Lands and Recreation Commission’s first acts was to give a recommendation that the county keep open a half-mile of Old Trails Highway in Yucca.

The commission has since October reviewed the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s Travel Management Plan, and in December made the recommendation that Old Trails Highway, a county-maintained road, should remain open despite a proposal by the BLM to close it. The Mohave County Board of Supervisors will vote next week on whether to submit a request to the BLM’s Kingman office for the agency to rescind its decision to close the route.

The BLM’s Travel Management Plan could close more than 1,600 miles of Mohave County’s desert trails, although the plan has not yet been finalized. According to Havasu 4-Wheelers representative James Bowen, the BLM has been accommodating to local off-roading organizations in the past.

“There was so much information the BLM didn’t have,” Bowen said. “They don’t know which trails are used and which aren’t. The Havasu 4-Wheelers have been working through the process with them for 14 years, and we’ve had excellent results with BLM.”

According to Bowen, more reactionary off-road enthusiasts seem to prefer that all of Mohave County’s trails should remain open, but they don’t have the knowledge or experience to inform the BLM which trails they would like to remain active. Bowen was appointed to the Mohave County Public Lands and Recreation Commission due to his experience with Mohave County trails as well as his experience working with the BLM.

“The BLM hasn’t closed a single trail, and they’re still in the process of evaluating them,” Bowen said. “All they want is information, and clubs like the Havasu 4-Wheelers give it to them, while some people are flailing their arms and contributing nothing.”

According to Bowen, the BLM requires trail locations in the format of GPS coordinates before agents they can analyze such trails.

“People need to learn how GPS works and go to the BLM website, and learn how to submit trails for review,” Bowen said.

Mohave County residents with comments or questions about the BLM’s Travel Management Plan can contact the agency’s Phoenix office at 602-417-9412.

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