Defend Your Ground

BlueRibbon Coalition

Defend Your Ground is a podcast produced by BlueRibbon Coalition - a 501c3 non-profit that works to defend outdoor recreation on public land on a national level. Listen to learn about new areas to explore, new adventures to pursue, and to become a better advocate for promoting all forms of recreation. read less
ScienceScience

Episodes

Episode 47: BLM Releases Final Version of Conservation Leasing Rule
May 10 2024
Episode 47: BLM Releases Final Version of Conservation Leasing Rule
Summary: This episode discusses the final draft of the BLM landscape health and conservation rule, which aims to flood money into the public land system to control management. The rule introduces new types of leases, such as restoration and mitigation leases, and prioritizes areas of critical environmental concern (ACECs). The hosts express concerns about the rule's lack of statutory authority and its potential impact on motorized recreation. They also question the need for the rule, as many of its provisions are already covered by existing laws and programs. The conversation discusses the proposed conservation rule and its potential impact on public lands. The hosts argue that the rule is a power grab by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and gives unilateral authority to state directors to designate Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs) without congressional approval. They highlight the potential consequences for grazing allotments and the transfer of wealth from public land users to environmental groups through mitigation funds. They emphasize the need for congressional oversight and support for the West Act.   Takeaways The BLM landscape health and conservation rule aims to flood money into the public land system to control management.The rule introduces new types of leases, such as restoration and mitigation leases, and prioritizes areas of critical environmental concern (ACECs).There are concerns about the rule's lack of statutory authority and its potential impact on motorized recreation.Many of the provisions in the rule are already covered by existing laws and programs. The proposed conservation rule gives unilateral authority to state directors of the BLM to designate ACECs without congressional approval.The rule could have significant consequences for grazing allotments and other public land uses.Mitigation funds created through the rule could result in a transfer of wealth from public land users to environmental groups.The criteria for ACEC designation are vague and could be subject to abuse.Congressional oversight and support for the West Act are necessary to address the concerns raised by the rule. Sound Bites "The BLM landscape conservation rule will only affect BLM land. The Wall Street rule would have affected everything.""There is an organized political movement that is doing everything it can to remove roads off the landscape so that it can create wilderness.""This is a land grab. This is them saying, we no longer need presidents in the antiquities act. We no longer need Congress and wilderness designations.""Once they get it designated as an ACEC, then it's going to be nearly impossible to remove that ACEC designation."   Chapters 00:00 Introduction and recent events 04:46 Legislation and potential legal challenges 09:29 Prioritization of ACECs in the rule 13:44 Concerns about the rule's provisions 23:32 Ulterior motives and the need for the rule 26:57 Unilateral Authority: The Power Grab by the Bureau of Land Management 29:35 Consequences for Grazing Allotments and Public Land Uses 36:23 Wealth Transfer: Mitigation Funds and Environmental Groups 41:21 Vague Criteria: Potential for Abuse in ACEC Designation 48:23 Congressional Oversight and the Need for the West Act
Episode 46: Problems with the Grandview Travel Plan
Apr 5 2024
Episode 46: Problems with the Grandview Travel Plan
Summary: In this episode of the Defend Your Ground podcast, Ben and Simone discuss the Grandview travel management plan in Idaho. They highlight the problems with the plan, including outdated information, missing routes, and the potential closure of desert racing routes. They also discuss the lack of analysis of social and economic impacts, as well as the potential connection between the plan and the development of solar farms in the area. The deadline for submitting comments on the plan is April 15th.   Comment here: https://www.sharetrails.org/grandview-idaho-input-needed-on-proposal-to-close-65-of-routes-in-area/   https://www.sharetrails.org/western-solar-plan-22-million-acres-up-for-grabs-for-solar-projects/   Takeaways The Grandview travel management plan in Idaho has several problems, including outdated information and missing routes.The plan could potentially close desert racing routes, which would have a significant impact on the motorcycle and desert racing communities.The plan lacks analysis of social and economic impacts, which is a requirement under NEPA.There may be a connection between the plan and the development of solar farms in the area.The deadline for submitting comments on the plan is April 15th. Titles Deadline for Submitting Comments on the PlanConnection Between the Plan and Solar Farm Development Sound Bites "Implementing any of these alternatives will shut down desert racing.""There's not a single alternative that I'm willing to say, here's what we support.""The landscape itself is creating this really awesome network of single track trails." Chapters 00:00 Introduction to the Grandview Travel Management Plan 02:43 Problems with the Number of Inventory Miles 03:46 Potential Closure of Desert Racing Routes 06:42 Lack of Support for Alternatives 10:05 The Unique Landscape and Trail Network 14:13 Impact on Single Track Riders 25:16 Connection Between the Plan and Solar Farm Development 32:52 Deadline for Submitting Comments
Episode 45: A Deep Dive into the San Rafael Swell
Feb 28 2024
Episode 45: A Deep Dive into the San Rafael Swell
The BLM recently released their preliminary maps for the San Rafael Swell travel plan. We expect a public comment period on this plan soon. In this episode, Ben and Simone discuss the planning status of the San Rafael Swells in Utah. They provide an overview of the recent developments and the upcoming public comment period. They highlight concerns about road closures and the potential impact on popular trails, particularly for dirt bikers. They also discuss the implications of the Dingell Act and the creation of wilderness areas in the San Rafael Swell. The episode concludes with suggestions for how listeners can prepare for the public comment period and support the Historical Roadways Protection Act. This conversation discusses the potential closure of roads and trails in the San Rafael Swell. The hosts emphasize the importance of public involvement and documentation to protect these routes. They provide a detailed overview of specific roads and trails that are at risk of closure, including their locations and potential impacts. The conversation highlights the need for users to explore and document these routes to gather evidence for legal protection. The hosts also encourage listeners to support the Historic Roadways Protection Act and join organizations that advocate for off-road access.   Takeaways The San Rafael Swells in Utah are undergoing planning for road closures and trail restrictions.The Dingell Act created wilderness areas in the San Rafael Swells and established the San Rafael Swell Recreation Area.Cherry-stemmed roads were created to allow for wilderness designation while keeping some roads open.The Historical Roadways Protection Act aims to prevent further closures and restrictions in the area.Public input and engagement are crucial during the planning process to protect access to popular trails and recreational opportunities. Public involvement and documentation are crucial to protect roads and trails from closure.Specific roads and trails in the San Rafael Swell area are at risk of closure, and users are encouraged to explore and document these routes.Supporting the Historic Roadways Protection Act and joining organizations that advocate for off-road access can help protect these routes.The San Rafael Swell area offers a diverse range of trails and camping spots, and it is important to preserve access for future generations. In the episode we discuss how the BLM maps aren't useful for comparing the different alternatives they are considering. Here are two great maps that show the hundreds of routes that could be closed by this plan: Arizona Backcountry Explorers Map: https://maps.azbackroads.com/maps/san-rafael-swell/index.html#7/39.483/-111.088 PLPCO's Map: https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/3b4d111082054f3ebf893cd279325c9b/page/Page/?fbclid=IwAR27kC0m_HxXXC-rTMKLLXz8lwI0SurEAMvvAJZoTcPX7gAPAsHut39xnSM In the episode we made several references to the Dingell Act, and the text can be found here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/47/text If you want to enter our Build Your Dream Rig Sweepstakes and receive a copy of Volume 1 of our Lost Trails Guidebook (while supplies last), use this link: https://www.tapkat.org/blueribbon-coalition/0E73gE?promo=SWELL If you are interested in volunteering to do field work in the San Rafael Swell, please contact BlueRibbon Coalition here: Contact Us