U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
United States Department of the Interior
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Washington, D.C. 20240
October 24, 2007
In Reply Refer To:
1600, 8300 (210/250) P
EMS TRANSMISSION 10/25/2007
Instruction Memorandum No. 2008-014
To: All State Directors
Attn: Travel Management Leaders, Engineers and State Land Use Planning
Leaders, Lands and Realty Program Leaders, State Staff Rangers, and State
Recreation Program Leaders
From: Assistant Director, Renewable Resources and Planning
Subject: Clarification of Guidance and Integration of Comprehensive Travel and
Program Areas: Land Use Planning, Engineering, and All Resource Programs
Purpose: The purpose of this Instruction Memorandum (IM) is to clarify policy and provide additional guidance for travel and transportation management decisions into the land use planning (LUP) process. This IM sets priorities for integrating travel and transportation management into the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) planning processes, and describes how to comprehensively manage transportation facilities with planning and designation of travel networks for the management of lands and resource programs. A key aspect of this IM is to facilitate all resource programs to work in an interdisciplinary manner in the planning, determination, and management of a transportation network that best meets the full range of public, resource management, and administrative access needs.
Background: The BLM determines appropriate access to public lands for public use and resource management based on management objectives through its LUP processes. The development of a rational, planned, and manageable travel and transportation network is a fundamental component of land use plans. The LUP process includes preparation of Resource Management Plans (RMP) and subsequent activity plans. The LUP process is flexible and allows for revision, amendment, or maintenance of an RMP, as appropriate.
In March 2005, the BLM released its LUP Handbook (H-1601-1). This handbook provides guidance for the LUP process and requirements for the BLM programs that are to be addressed through planning. Appendix C of the Handbook describes three components for travel and transportation management: 1) Section II. Resource Uses, D. Comprehensive Trails and Travel Management, 2) Section III. Special Designations, A. Congressional Designations, and 3) Section IV. Support, C. Transportation Facilities.
As State and Field Offices implemented the guidance in LUP Handbook (H-1601-1), they identified a need for additional direction that would describe steps and processes needed to better integrate travel management planning with transportation system planning. Specifically, Field Offices requested guidance that would provide: 1) clarification of and integration of the planning process described in both the comprehensive trails and travel management and the transportation facilities sections, and 2) a recommended stepwise framework that demonstrates an interdisciplinary approach to comprehensive travel and transportation planning, as all resource programs benefit from and depend on a well-planned transportation system.
Policy or Action: State and Field Offices will comprehensively manage travel and transportation on the public lands in accordance with law, executive orders, proclamation, regulation, and policy, and to support the accomplishment of management objectives for all resource programs. Within this context, all offices will identify a transportation system that supports the agency’s mission, management of land and resource programs and their goals and objectives, and provides for appropriate public and administrative access. The BLM’s present transportation network is largely inherited, created from past resource uses and public access patterns. As the BLM develops new RMPs, it must assess present and future access needs; evaluate existing trails, primitive road, and roads; and determine an appropriate travel and transportation system. This can only be accomplished through an interdisciplinary process—one that requires involvement and funding support of all resource programs, but is guided and constrained by the program and management objectives outlined for each in relevant management plans. The following policy clarifications promote a comprehensive, consistent, and organization-wide approach to the process of planning and managing the travel and transportation network.
1. Consistency with Resource Planning Goals and Objectives. This IM affirms the BLM’s commitment to be consistent with resource program goals and objectives (i.e., healthy lands, endangered species, cultural resources, and benefits-based recreation) when planning for comprehensive travel and transportation management (CTTM). All travel and transportation management plans (whether part of an RMP or completed as a separate activity plan) shall be consistent with, incorporate, and implement policy contained in LUP Handbook (H-1601-1), Appendix C, Section I. Natural, Biological, and Cultural Resources; Section II. Resource Uses; Section III. Special Designations; and Section IV. Support. Additionally, CTTM planning should consider and address all resource and administrative access needs, not just motorized or off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreational use activities. See attachment 1 for examples.
2. Special Considerations for All Modes of Travel and Access for Recreation. Whereas a comprehensive interdisciplinary approach to travel and transportation management incorporates the concerns of multiple programs, the recreation program has a specific need to recognize and manage motorized recreational use of OHVs and nonmotorized travel, such as foot, equestrian, and mechanical. The planning process should consider and address the full range of various modes of travel on public lands, not only motorized access needs. An understanding of the regional supply and demand of recreational opportunities and access needs is important in designating a system of roads, primitive roads, trails, and areas for specific recreation and other uses.
Several actions must be taken if CTTM is to support recreation program and management objectives. The selection of travel management areas should parallel identified Recreation Management Zones (RMZ) within Special Recreation Management Areas (SRMA). Both recreation management objectives and recreation setting prescriptions guide and constrain the kinds of travel, as well as the location of travel routes. All road and trail construction and maintenance must be constrained to fit within these setting prescriptions. Within Extensive Recreation Management Areas (ERMA), travel management actions are limited to care-taking, custodial management objectives. They cannot accommodate increased activity-based recreation demand. Where significant market demand for structured recreation opportunities (i.e., activities, experiences, and other benefits) has been identified, managers should consider the need for intensive investments, for which SRMAs are intended. In such areas, select a primary recreation–tourism market for which the area is to be managed, develop benefits-based management objectives, and formulate supporting recreation setting prescriptions.
3. Off-Highway Vehicle Area Designations and Travel Management Prescriptions. The CTTM planning will be incorporated into development of all RMPs to ensure access needs are balanced with resource management goals and objectives. As required by Executive Order 11644 (as amended by Executive Order 11989) and regulation (43 CFR 8340), each RMP will designate all public lands within the planning area as “open,” “limited,” or “closed” to motorized (OHV) use (area designations). The RMP will, at a minimum, include a map of OHV area designations and delineate any specific travel management areas (TMA). Criteria for designation and descriptions of any travel management actions will be derived from resource programs’ objectives and prescriptions for the transportation network in OHV limited areas. It is important to establish and maintain an administrative record documenting the decision rationale and process, especially when identifying and selecting the transportation network.
4. Extent and Appropriateness of OHV Designations. Off-highway vehicle designations of “open,” “limited,” and “closed” should be compatible with planning goals and objectives. Specific criteria for “open,” “limited,” and “closed” OHV designations are provided in definitions outlined in 43 CFR 8340.0-5 (f), (g), and (h) and 43 CFR 8342.1, Designation Criteria. Generally, the BLM will designate limited areas where use is limited to identified existing roads and trails or emphasize the designation of travel and transportation networks. Because of significant increases in OHV use on public lands and the development of new vehicle technologies, the designation of large areas that remain open to unregulated “cross-country travel” is no longer a viable management strategy. However, the BLM may continue to designate open areas where unlimited or unregulated cross-country travel does not pose resource damage concerns or where use can be mitigated or reduced to acceptable levels.
5. Identification of Travel Management Areas, Decisions, and a Resulting Transportation System and Related Facilities. This should be performed concurrently with determination of OHV area designations as part of the LUP process. State and Field Offices will establish a process to identify, evaluate, and select specific routes available for motorized uses within the areas designated as limited to OHV use and specify limitations or restrictions on type, duration, and season of uses or modes of transportation allowed. The process requires identification of all travel needs for the public, as well as administrative and resource management activities, such as research and monitoring, permitting, or emergency or fire access. The process also requires recognition and designation of nonmotorized trails or routes. The RMP will include a map of the roads, primitive roads, and trails open and available for use (exceptions to this requirement can be found in the LUP Handbook (H-1601-1), Appendix C, Section II. D).
Travel management areas (TMA) are polygons or delineated areas where a rational approach has been taken to achieve resource programs’ objectives, and have an identified or designated network of roads, trails, ways, and other routes that provide for public access and travel across the planning area. To help ensure that travel decisions support program-specific management objectives, strive to make TMA boundaries coincide with the management areas defined for various land and resource programs. All designated travel routes within TMAs should have a clearly identified and documented need and purpose, as well as clearly defined types of activities, modes of travel, and seasons or times for allowable access or other limitations.
Where there are unique or shared circumstances, high levels of controversy, or complex resource considerations, State and Field Offices may delineate a TMA to address particular concerns and prescribe specific management actions for a defined geographic area. These are usually identified where travel and transportation management (either motorized or nonmotorized) requires particular focus or increased intensity of management. Whereas OHV area designations are land use plan allocations, TMAs are a planning tool to help delineate travel networks.
6. Adaptive Management and Changes to the System. Changes to the transportation network (new routes, reroutes, or closures) in “limited” areas may be made through activity level planning or with site-specific National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis. Modifications to area OHV designations (open, closed, or limited) require amendment to the RMP.
7. Standardized Terminology, Data, and Maintenance Levels. A consistent set of terms and definitions is essential for implementing a comprehensive travel and transportation management policy. Washington Office IM 2006-173, Implementation of Roads and Trails Terminology Report, standardizes definitions for three transportation system linear features or assets: roads, primitive roads, and trails. The terms used to describe the maintenance of transportation-related linear features have changed from maintenance levels to maintenance intensities, as described in the report. All roads, primitive roads, and trails are required to have minimum data standards for planning, collecting, or managing linear feature data that are part of the BLM’s transportation system. The minimum national data standard found in the BLM Road and Trail Terminology Report provides a consistent set of data but does not preclude the collection of additional information if deemed necessary for use by specific State Offices or planning areas. See U.S. Bureau of Land Management. 2006. Roads and Trails Terminology. Technical Note422. Bureau of Land Management, Denver, Colorado. BLM/WO/ST-06/006+9113. 67 pp. This document can be downloaded from http://www.blm.gov/nstc/library/techno2.htm.
8. Travel and Transportation Data Systems. State and Field Offices will use the Facility Asset Management System (FAMS) database for storage of information on designated roads, primitive roads, and trails. Upon approval of the RMP record of decision (ROD), designated travel routes must be entered into FAMS. The FAMS data will serve as the current information on the BLM’s transportation system. Any modifications in the transportation network will occur through activity-level planning or the site-specific NEPA.
9. Funding and Technical Support. The CTTM planning and implementation shall be supported by all programs and utilize the full range of funding and technical assistance sources, as all programs benefit from effective travel and transportation management. As part of the RMP process, State and Field Offices shall determine the appropriate mix of supporting programs in developing travel and transportation plans, including inventory, assessment, analysis, transportation network selections, and implementing management actions.
Timeframe: These policy statements are in effect immediately. They will remain in effect until the Comprehensive Travel and Transportation Management Manual and Handbook are complete.
Budget Impact: There is no significant effect on the budget.
Manual or Handbook Sections Affected: Sections affected are the implementation of guidance provided in the BLM Land Use Planning Handbook (H-1601-1), appendix C, section II. Resource Uses. D. Comprehensive Trails and Travel Management, section IV. C. Transportation Facilities, and section III. A. Congressional Designations.
Coordination: The BLM Washington Office Recreation and Visitor Services division and Planning and Science Policy division prepared this guidance with extensive consultation from State Recreation, Travel Management, and Planning Leads; Washington Office National Landscape Conservation System staff; and the ad-hoc group for comprehensive travel and transportation management.
Contact: Anna Atkinson, National OHV Coordinator, 202-452-7771; Mark Goldbach, Trails and Travel Management Coordinator, 202-452-5176; or David Campbell, Construction Program Lead, 202-557-3568.
2 - Developing a Comprehensive Travel and Transportation Plan after Development of the Resource Management Plan (2 pp)