IBLA Appeal and Request for Stay

To: Gary Medlyn Eagan Field Office Manager
Mary D'Aversa Schell Field Manager
c/o Ely District Office
HC33 Box 33500
Ely, Nevada 89301


Notice of IBLA Appeal and Request for Stay of Record of Decision, White Pine County Silver State Off Highway Vehicle Trail in White Pine County and Lincoln County, Nevada. This notice was delivered in person to the Ely, Nevada BLM office on November 29, 2010.


This letter is to provide notice of our intent to appeal the above decision. We will send you our detailed reasons for appealing your decision within 30 days as provided by 43 CFR part 4.


Backcountry Hunters and Angler members in White Pine County and elsewhere use the public lands affected by this decision for hunting, dispersed camping, hiking, Picnicking and general non-motorized recreation when areas of easy motor access are desired, yet are still quiet and offer a degree of solitude.

If implemented, the project will invite significant numbers of new Off-Highway Vehicle- focused recreationists to the area, disturbing current non-motorized users and causing displacement to areas less desirable for our use. Many species of wildlife will be displaced, vegetation disturbed, noxious weeds increased, vandalism to cultural values will increase, ranching operations will be disturbed. Essentially all traditional uses of the proposal area will be negatively impacted, only to create new adventure for a small percentage of the recreation public. Off-Highway Vehicle users already have full access to all of the routes in question.

The EA confirms all of the impacts mentioned. It also acknowledges that increased OHV use will occur. Reasonable judgement would conclude that the analyzed negative impacts would be above the “significant” threshold stated in the White Pine County Lands Act, Sec. 355 (b).

However, the major flaw in the EA is its failure to recognize that additional users, brought to the area by the “Silver State Trail” designation and tourism publicity, will inevitably and predictably branch off onto adjoining routes. This will push negative impacts even further beyond the “significant” level.
Increased use will greatly multiply the negative effects prohibited by the White Pine County Lands Act. For instance the proposed Silver State Trail passes within ¼ mile of 24 different springs. Springs are vital assets to wildlife in this arid country and OHV users are strongly attracted to such areas creating significant wildlife displacement. Negative effects will be magnified to all traditional uses along the full length of the trail by users leaving the SST on adjoining routes.

An unavoidable precedent is set through establishing this trail to the Elko County line and the branch to western White Pine County. This proposal must acknowledge that it will put a great deal of pressure for adjoining areas to continue the proponents of vision of running the trial all the way into Idaho and West across Nevada. Adjoining jurisdictions, BLM units and affected publics have not had the opportunity to participate in this decision.

We urge the Deciding officer to withdraw this decision and continue analysis accounting for collateral effects caused by the inevitable increase in use, creating expansion of OHV use to adjoing routes.

REQUEST FOR STAY

We request a stay from any on-the-ground work or obligation for development work , contracting for any development activity, sign placement, or any attempt to attract OHV users until this appeal is decided.

The standards for a stay are met because: we are likely to prevail on the merits of our appeal for the reasons stated above. Further, we will be irreparably harmed if a stay is not granted: Attracting additional OHV users to the area will increase negative effects to existing resources and recreation activities well described in the EA. Motorized use would create noise and dust which would greatly diminish the quality of non-motorized recreation and displace those users. Such intrusions would fragment habitat with new routes, damage wildlife habitat and displace wildlife through noise and dust. Hunting opportunities would be greatly reduced.

Neither the BLM nor the proponents would suffer harm if the stay is granted. Appellants' harm outweighs any potential motorized users' harm: OHV users have currently have full use of all the routes in question at this time. The root of the problem is that motorized use at current levels may be tolerable, while increases in use brought on by implementation of this plan will push negative impacts to unacceptable levels.

New use to the area will be very difficult to reduce back to acceptable levels and may well result in greatly reducing access opportunity for motorized recreation much sooner than normal increases in such recreation could cause.

Lastly, the public interest favors a stay: government projects should not move forward without the proper NEPA compliance to ensure that decisions are well thought-out and sufficiently protective of the environment.

Sincerely:

Dan Heinz, Issue Chair for
Randy Mcnatt Chairman

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