U.S. House subcommittee to consider banning riding on 9.4 million acres.
Hearing on Oct. 1 to focus on a ban of off-highway riding on more than 9 million acres of Utah land.
PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- In
a surprise move, the chairman of a U.S. House subcommittee has
scheduled a hearing for next week on a proposal that would ban
off-highway motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), and bicycles from
more than 9 million acres of public land in Utah, the American
Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.
The AMA is urging all
riders to contact their U.S. representatives immediately to ask them to
oppose the proposal, H.R. 1925, which is the America's Red Rock
Wilderness Act of 2009. Concerned riders can contact their federal
lawmakers by going to the Rights section of the AMA website at AmericanMotorcyclist.com and then clicking on the "Issues and Legislation" link.
While U.S. Rep. Raul
Grijalva of Arizona, who is chairman of the Subcommittee on National
Parks, Forests and Public Lands, has yet to officially announce his
intention to hold the hearing, the AMA has confirmed that H.R. 1925
will be considered on Thursday, Oct. 1.
The bill, introduced by
U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey of New York, would ban motorized recreation
on 9.4 million acres of public land in Utah by inappropriately
designating it as Wilderness.
The devastating proposal would impact the Moab, San Rafael Swell and Chimney Rock riding areas, among others.
"The measure is totally
unreasonable and completely unacceptable," said Ed Moreland, AMA vice
president for government relations. "Continued responsible access to
public lands is a vitally important right for current and future
"This is just the latest
step in a massive land grab being orchestrated nationwide by
anti-access forces who are seeking to eliminate responsible off-highway
riding on public lands by any means necessary," Moreland said. "They
want to turn all public land into their own exclusive playground.
"It's important to note
that this legislation would make sweeping changes to existing riding
areas despite the fact that much of the land to be classified as
Wilderness is already managed by federal agencies through local
processes and decisions," Moreland added. "The best management of
public lands is through local input, and the fact that a member of
Congress from New York is proposing closing land in a state where none
of that state's own representatives support the bill makes this measure
even more unfair to those who live and recreate in Utah."
In 1964, Congress approved
the National Wilderness Act that essentially set the criteria for
designating land for Wilderness protection. That law was to preserve
land that "generally appears to have been affected primarily by the
force of nature, with the imprint of man's work substantially
The law led to a
nationwide survey of public land to determine whether it should be
designated as Wilderness. Since 1964, some 107 million acres nationwide
have earned the designation.
"The AMA strongly supports
properly designated Wilderness areas," Moreland said. "But anti-access
opportunists who oppose off-highway riding are misapplying the intent
of Wilderness as a means to push responsible riders off our nation's
public lands. It is a disturbing trend that, if allowed to continue,
may ultimately spell the demise of responsible motorized recreation on
public lands. Indeed, as we speak, there are about a dozen Wilderness
bills being considered on Capitol Hill that would close about 36
million acres to off-highway riding. It's patently unfair that so many
appropriate off-highway riding areas are being taken away without
additional new opportunities being introduced."
Earlier this year,
Congress fast-tracked a bill with little public input that President
Obama then signed into law to designate as Wilderness some 2 million
acres in several states nationwide.
"So with the stroke of a
pen, off-highway riding was banned forever, and even more public land
is threatened now with closure," said Moreland.
All riders who want to take action on this matter can immediately contact their federal lawmakers by selecting the Issues and Legislation link in the Rights section of the AMA website at AmericanMotorcyclist.com.
About the American Motorcyclist Association
1924, the AMA has protected the future of motorcycling and promoted the
motorcycle lifestyle. AMA members come from all walks of life, and they
navigate many different routes on their journey to the same
destination: freedom on two wheels. As the world's largest motorcycling
organization, the AMA advocates for motorcyclists' interests in the
halls of local, state and federal government, the committees of
international governing organizations, and the court of public opinion.
Through member clubs, promoters and partners, the AMA sanctions more
motorsports competition and motorcycle recreational events than any
other organization in the world. AMA members receive money-saving
discounts from dozens of well-known suppliers of motorcycle services,
gear and apparel, bike rental, transport, hotel stays and more. Through
its Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, the AMA preserves the heritage of
motorcycling for future generations.