Press Release Jan 13, 2017

Park Service Ignores Harmful Impacts, Advances ORV Management Plan for Glen Canyon

Lengthy process results in a plan that could increase environmental degradation to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area rather than minimize it.

SALT LAKE CITY –Today the National Park Service released a final environmental report, examining off-road vehicle management at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) expressed disappointment with the Final Environmental Impact Statement, (FEIS) noting the proposed management plan will have broad and significant impacts on the park site’s environment, including on its vegetation and wildlife.

“It is alarming that the National Park Service would move forward with a new management plan that poses broad and significant environmental impacts on Glen Canyon National Recreation Area,” said Erika Pollard, Senior Utah Program Manager for NPCA. “The proposed final plan opens up more than 300 miles of paved and unpaved vehicle routes within Glen Canyon to off-road vehicles, including street legal ATVs. It’s even more alarming that the Park Service would implement this plan given their acknowledgement of the direct and adverse impacts increased vehicle access would have throughout the park site.”

Throughout the nearly nine years that it has taken the National Park Service to develop this management plan, NPCA has urged the agency to prohibit off-road vehicle use on designated park roads to maintain the remote, wilderness quality of the Glen Canyon backcountry, protect the park’s important cultural and natural resources and ensure visitor safety. NPCA asked the Park Service to use up-to-date information and appropriate analysis of air quality and noise impacts of increased ORV use in the recreation area when making this important decision.

In addition to its potential impacts to Glen Canyon, NPCA warned of harm to the adjacent Canyonlands National Park.

“I’m disturbed that a portion of the Orange Cliffs, which is a remote and special backcountry area of Glen Canyon, will be opened to ORV and ATV use with very little ability to enforce illegal use,” said David Nimkin, Senior Regional Director for NPCA’s Southwest region. “With more than 30,000 miles of designated ORV routes already existing on Bureau of Land Management land throughout Utah, this decision by the National Park Service to allow ORV use in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is simply unreasonable and unnecessary.”

Over the years, NPCA has advocated for National Park Service action to prevent illegal off-road vehicle use through appropriate planning, visitor education, outreach and enforcement.

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About National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.