U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
 
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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20240
http://www.blm.gov
 
December 15, 2006
 
In Reply Refer To:
8100 (240) P  
 
EMS TRANSMISSION 12/22/2006
Instruction Memorandum No. 2007-030
Expires: 09/30/2008
 
To:                   All Field Office Officials
 
From:               Assistant Director, Renewable Resources and Planning
 
Subject:           Clarification of Cultural Resource Considerations for Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Designation and Travel Management 
           
Program Areas: Cultural Resources; Recreation; Planning
 
Purpose: This Instruction Memorandum (IM) provides clarification on how the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) complies with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) for designation and management of areas, roads and trails (see 43 CFR 8342 and 43 CFR 8340.0-5) to control OHV use on public lands. In particular, it addresses the question of what is the appropriate effort for identification of historic properties in the extensive land use planning areas for which the BLM makes OHV use area and route designations.  
 
Policy and Action: Given the overall beneficial effects of route designation on cultural resources, the size of the planning areas, and the BLM’s continuing management responsibilities for designated areas and routes, the BLM should consider the potential for area, road and trail designation to affect historic properties in the following manner as it complies with the BLM national cultural resources Programmatic Agreement (PA) and 36 CFR Part 800[1].
 
Considering Cultural Resources in Land Use Planning (LUP): Comprehensive travel management planning is an interdisciplinary process. Cultural resource information from the planning area’s Class I inventory[2], and other existing cultural resources information, should be considered when choosing among the range of possibilities in designing a planning area travel system for proposed designation.
 
Area of Potential Effect (APE) for Designation:  Section 106 requires agencies to identify the geographic area or areas within which the character or use of any historic properties may be directly or indirectly affected by an undertaking. The APE for designations includes areas designated open, closed or limited for OHV use, specific roads and trails, times and/or seasons of available use and adjacent locations where various OHV-related activities are authorized or allowed, such as staging areas for events.  Inventory efforts prior to designation are focused on locations within the APE where the designation as open or limited may cause adverse effects to historic properties.   
 
Potential for Adverse Effect: The potential effects of proposed designations differ according to the extent of anticipated change in OHV use.
 
 A. Proposed designations that will not change or will reduce OHV use are unlikely to adversely affect historic properties and will require less intensive identification efforts. These include designations that (1) allow continued use of an existing route; (2) impose new limitations on an existing route; (3) close an open area or travel route; (4) keep a closed area closed; or (5) keep an open area open.
 
B. Where there is a reasonable expectation that a proposed decision that does not change or will reduce OHV use, but will shift, concentrate or expand travel onto other existing routes or into areas that are likely to have historic properties, the potential for cumulative or indirect effects must be taken into account. Such decisions are subject to section 106 compliance.
 
            C. Proposed decisions to designate new routes or areas as open to OHV use, and to identify new localities for other OHV-related activities, are subject to section 106 compliance.
 
Cultural Resources Inventory Requirements:  Inventory requirements, priorities and strategies will vary depending on the effect and nature of the proposed OHV activity and the expected density and nature of historic properties based on existing inventory information. 
 
 
            B. Where there is a reasonable expectation that a proposed designation will shift, concentrate or expand travel into areas where historic properties are likely to be adversely affected, Class III inventory and compliance with section 106, focused on areas where adverse effects are likely to occur, is required prior to designation.
 
            C. Proposed designations of new routes or new areas as open to OHV use will require Class III inventory of the APE and compliance with section 106 prior to designation. Class III inventory of the APE and compliance with section 106 will also be required prior to identifying new locations proposed as staging areas or similar areas of concentrated OHV use.
 
D. Class II inventory[4], or development and field testing of a cultural resources probability model, followed by Class III inventory in high potential areas and for specific projects, may be appropriate for larger planning areas for which limited information is currently available.
 
Where a road and trail network cannot be included in a LUP, because cultural resources inventories cannot be accomplished in time, cultural resource staff must work closely with the Recreation and Planning staff to include a map of a preliminary travel network and short-term management guidelines, while establishing a strategy and schedule for completing the road and trail designation process within five years of completion of the LUP. 
 
Consultation: Coordination with State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs) and Indian tribes that may attach cultural and religious significance to historic properties that may be affected by the undertaking is required for all planning efforts. The SHPOs should be consulted prior to initiating the development of a land use plan (or travel management plan) and invited to participate in the development of identification, monitoring, and treatment options during the planning and implementation of this effort. The planning team should coordinate with potentially affected Indian tribes to solicit concerns relative to planning options and to ensure that appropriate identification and treatment options are developed and implemented during or after the planning effort.  Consistent with the individual State/BLM protocols under the BLM national PA, additional consultation and documentation may be required for specific planning decisions and project implementation. 
 
Supplementary Information: The following information is helpful to understanding this policy.
 
A. OHV Authorities and Policy: The potential effect of increasingly numerous and popular recreational vehicles on public lands was addressed in Executive Order (E.O.) 11644, (as amended by E.O. 11989), Use of Off-Road Vehicles on Public Lands in 1972. Toprotect resources, promote safety of users and minimize land use conflicts, E.O. 11644 established a Federal policy of designating all public lands as either available or not available for off-road vehicle (ORV) use and required every agency to develop a process for directing and controlling the ORV use. The BLM administration process for controlling ORV use is in 43 CFR Part 8340. In January 2001, the BLM publishedA National Management Strategy for Motorized Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Use on Public Lands. More recently, IM 2004-005, Clarification of OHV Designations and Travel Management in the BLM Land Use Planning Process,provides additional guidance on the planning process. The terms OHV and ORV are synonymous and refer to any motorized vehicle capable of travel on or over land, water, or other natural terrain, excluding motorboats, military, emergency, law enforcement or other official vehicles.
 
B. Recreation Management Information System (RMIS): The RMIS is the BLM’s official record keeping system for tracking OHV area designation status. Every Field Office’s OHV designation status can be determined by accessing the current RMIS data base. The RMIS Standard Report #11 will provide a listing of public land areas designated open, limited, closed or undesignated. Each Field Office is responsible for keeping their OHV designation data current in RMIS.  
 
C. Cultural Resource Information Needs for Planning Decisions:  Cultural heritage staff should be involved throughout the planning process. Information Bulletin (IB) 2002-101, Cultural
 
Resource Considerations in Resource Management Plans,established policy thatevery new, revised and amended LUP must incorporate sufficient information to identify the nature and importance of all cultural resources known or expected in the LUP area. Where this information is lacking or out of
date, the LUP Preparation Plan should include provision for developing or revising this information as part of the overall plan development, revision, or amendment process. Landscape level overviews, planning models based on synthesizing available site location, environmental, and contextual
information, and class II inventories or sample surveys can be very helpful to the LUP process.   
 
D. Development of Planning Alternatives:   Selection of specific road and trail networks and imposition of other use limitations, should avoid impacts on historic properties where possible.  In accordance with 43 CFR 8342, existing cultural resource information must be considered when choosing among the range of alternatives for the design of a planning area travel system, including the potential impacts on cultural resources when determining whether each of the routes or areas in a planning area should be designated as open, limited, or closed. Sensitive resource areas may be protected through rerouting, reconstruction, and new construction, limitations on vehicle type and time or season of travel, in addition to closure. Evaluation of routes or areas to be designated as closed to protect cultural resources may be based on existing inventory information and should not be postponed until additional information is acquired.  
  
E. Monitoring:   Areas and routes open to OHV use are monitored for impacts to resources, and a cultural resource specialist should be included on the team responsible for developing and implementing the monitoring standards and process. The monitoring standards and process should take into consideration the intensity and type of OHV use, the density and sensitivity of cultural resources in the area, and the potential for adverse indirect and cumulative impacts, including route proliferation.   When monitoring is proposed to assess potential effects from route or area designation, the decision record should make it clear which mitigation actions should be taken, and when they should be taken, in order to minimize additional environmental analysis required prior to implementation.    
 
F. Route improvement or rehabilitation projects:   Specific projects undertaken to improve, or rehabilitate, routes or areas are subject to section 106 review and may require class III inventory and the SHPO consultation, consistent with the BLM national PA and applicable State/BLM protocols. They may also require class III inventory of previously uninventoried areas with the potential for cultural resources. 
 
G. Emergencies: All OHV use is subject to prohibitions against operation of vehicles on public lands in a reckless, careless, or negligent manner; and in excess of established speeds or in a manner causing or likely to cause undue damage to cultural and other resources. Where an authorized officer determines that OHVs are causing or likely to cause adverse effects to cultural resources, 43 CFR 8342 requires immediate closure to the type or types of vehicles causing the adverse effect until the adverse effects are eliminated and measures implemented to prevent recurrence. Cultural resources inventory is not required prior to the emergency closure.
 
H. Plan Maintenance and Modification:   A cultural resource specialist should be included on any team working on periodic plan maintenance or on a plan amendment. Cultural resource monitoring and inventory information, gathered after a plan is approved, maintained, or amended, should be used to review and update the route network as necessary in any plan maintenance or plan amendment process. 
 
Timeframe: This IM becomes effective upon the date of issuance.
 
Budget Impact:  None
 
Background:   Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) requires Federal agencies to take into account the effects of their undertakings on properties that are listed in, or may be eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (historic properties) before approving funds for, or authorizing, the undertaking.  Undertakings are projects, activities, and programs funded in whole or in part under the direct or indirect jurisdiction of a Federal agency, including those carried out by or on behalf of an agency, those carried out with Federal financial assistance, and those requiring a Federal permit, license or approval. 
 
As part of its comprehensive travel management program, the BLM incorporates road and trail access guidance into every LUP. At a minimum, by regulation, each plan designates areas as open, limited or closed to OHV use. For limited use areas, the BLM designates a network of roads and trails and may establish other limiting criteria, such as numbers and/or types of vehicles, time and/or season of use, etc.  Designations of travel areas, roads and trails are considered undertakings for the purposes of the NHPA.
 
Absent designation, areas, roads and trails are subject to uncontrolled OHV use. Designation of areas and specific networks of roads and trails in limited use areas generally has the beneficial effect of controlling impacts of OHV use on public lands, including on historic properties. Designation provides a purposefully designed and clearly delineated travel network for OHV usage, reduces the potential for user caused route proliferation, and facilitates travel management and law enforcement. The 43 CFR Part 8340 authorizes the closure of areas, roads and trails to the types of travel that have caused or may cause adverse effects to historic properties. In addition, route designations prohibit indiscriminate cross country travel that causes or may cause adverse impacts to historic properties. 
 
Directives Affected: None
 
Coordination: This IM was coordinated with the Recreation and Planning Divisions and the State Offices.
 
Contact: Kate Winthrop, Acting Preservation Officer, Washington Office Cultural, Paleontological Resources and Tribal Consultation Division, at
(202) 452-5051, or e-mail Kate_Winthrop@blm.gov .
 
Signed by:                                                                   
Authenticated by:
Bud Cribley                                                                 
Robert M. Williams
Acting, Deputy Assistant Director                                
Division of IRM Governance,WO-560
Renewable Resources and Planning
 
 


[1] The Programmatic Agreement (PA) executed by the BLM, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (Council), and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers on March 26, 1997, legally replaces 36 CFR Part 800, the Council’s government wide regulations, as the procedural basis for BLM managers to meet their responsibilities under Sections 106, 110(f), and 111(a) of the National Historic Preservation Act. A copy of the PA can be found in BLM Manual 8110, Appendix 13.
[2] Defined in Manual 8110.21A
[3] Defined in Manual 8110.21C
[4] Defined in Manual 8110.21B

 
Last updated: 10-21-2009