Environmental group protest dirt road race route across corner of monument

This is why they are called spoilsports.

A group calling itself Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility is raising a ruckus over plans by the Bureau of Land Management to route a short portion of a dirt road race from Las Vegas to Reno through a short span of the newly minted 700,000-acre Basin and Range National Monument.

Photo by Mark Kariya

The race, called the General Tire Las Vegas to Reno race, is said to be the longest off-highway race in the country, about 640 miles, and usually has about 300 motorcycles, trucks, dune buggies and assorted all-terrain vehicles competing each year. It has been run annually for 20 years by the Best in the Desert Racing Association. It starts near Alamo, has an overnight stop in Tonopah and ends near Dayton,

“BLM’s race plan makes a mockery out of President Obama’s monument declaration,” PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch said in a statement. “BLM is playing fast and loose with its legal obligations in order to let hundreds of vehicles roar through fragile desert before the monument’s protections can be solidified.”

A complaint sent to the White House and the Secretary of the Interior by PEER accused the BLM of flouting the presidential monument proclamation directive that “motorized vehicle use in the monument shall be permitted only on roads existing as of the date of this proclamation.”

The Las Vegas newspaper carried an Associated Press account of the objection today, but added that it contacted Basin and Range National Monument manager Alicia Styles, who told the paper the proposed route for the race crosses about 40 miles of the monument, all of it on existing dirt roads.

According to the Federal Register, “Except for emergency or authorized administrative purposes, motorized vehicle use in the monument shall be permitted only on roads existing as of the date of this proclamation.”

So what’s the beef?

Also, PEER nor any other self-styled environmentalists so far as we’ve heard have raised objections to the paragraph that precedes that statement about existing roads:

“Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to limit the authority of the Secretary, under applicable law other than this proclamation, to undertake or authorize activities on public land in the vicinity of the sculpture City for the purpose of preventing harm to the artwork, including activities to improve drainage and to prevent erosion, consistent with the care and management of the objects identified above. The management plan for the monument shall provide for reasonable use of existing roads within the monument to facilitate public access to City.”

Art is good? Sport is bad?

City is just a lot of bulldozed dirt that is supposed to look like ancient ruins, we’re told. Construction has been going on for more than 40 years inside what is now a national monument. But that is not damaging to the pristine desert, while driving a few bikes and trucks over an existing road one day a year is devastating.

City — art in the desert?

 

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4 comments on “Environmental group protest dirt road race route across corner of monument

  1. deleted says:

    “Off Highway?”

    That’s funny because, according to everything I found, this is an “off road” event.

    You ought to write copy for these guys Thomas, just to make sure they don’t say something that makes it clear why there is a problem to begin with.

    “The Longest OFF ROAD RACE in the United States”

    http://bitd.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/2016_Schedule.pdf

  2. Steve says:

    Depends on what state you are in when writing the pub, you wannabe lawyer. Some states, including Nevada refer to all paved roads as “highways” while others call some paved roads a “road” and divided roads “highways”

    Unpaved, it becomes “off road” or “off highway” the terms are interchangeable for events like these in whatever state they happen to take place.

    Talk about picky, only a wannabe ambulance chaser could cough up that bit of attempted legal phlegm.

  3. deleted says:

    “Except for emergency or authorized administrative purposes, motorized vehicle use in the monument shall be permitted only on roads existing as of the date of this proclamation”

    So, unless this off road race is considered an “emergency” or has an “authorized administrative purpose” I can’t see how the proclamation could be construed to permit the off road race.

    “Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to limit the authority of the Secretary, under applicable law other than this proclamation, to undertake or authorize activities on public land in the vicinity of the sculpture City for the purpose of preventing harm to the artwork, including activities to improve drainage and to prevent erosion, consistent with the care and management of the objects identified above.”

    Unless the off road race is considered among “activities….on public land in the vicinity of the sculpture City for PURPOSES OF PREVENTING HARM TO THE ARTWORK….” The proclamation is pretty clearly intended to prevent it.

  4. Steve says:

    Shammy, read that again you wannabe ambulance chaser.

    It says motorized vehicles are specifically authorized on existing dirt trails.
    It allows emergency vehicles to blaze new trails and disallows any other motorized vehicles this activity.

    What a pile of wasted legal phlegm you are.

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