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January 15, 2009

Contact:
   Lesley A. Collins
   307-261-7603

Draft Sand Hills Travel & Transportation Management Plan Available

The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Casper Field Office has released the Draft Sand Hills Coordinated Travel and Transportation Management Plan and associated Resource Management Plan Amendment Environmental Assessment (RMPA/EA) for public review.

The Draft RMPA/EA addresses off-highway vehicle use and the designation of roads and trails on 17,633 acres of BLM-administered public lands within the Sand Hills Transportation Area located 10 miles northeast of Casper, in Natrona and Converse counties.

The Draft RMPA/EA documents the direct, indirect, and cumulative environmental impacts of three alternatives for management of BLM-administered lands within the Sand Hills Transportation Area. These alternatives include:

1)  No Action alternative, in which 17,633 acres of BLM-administered land would be managed under existing land use planning decisions.

2)  Alternative A consists of designating all existing roads into the transportation system. New motorized routes would be integrated into the system to allow legal access for new landowners. Under this alternative, there could be up to 25 new access points. The boundary of the planning area would not be adjusted to include public lands to the southwest, limiting the planning area to a total of 17,633 acres.

3)  Alternative B, the preferred alternative, provides a transportation system that would meet the needs of the users while removing unnecessary routes in order to preserve natural resource. Under this alternative, the planning boundary would be adjusted to include public lands located to the west and southwest increasing the management area by 2,460 acres for a total of 20,093 acres of public surface.

BLM encourages the public to review the Draft RMPA/EA and submit comments. Comments will be accepted through February 15, 2009. Copies of the Draft RMPA/EA will be available online at www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/info/NEPA/cfodocs/ sandhills.html, and at the Casper Field Office.

Written comments and resource information submitted by mail should be sent to the BLM Casper Field Office, Attention Eve Bennett, 2987 Prospector Drive, Casper, WY, 82604. Comments or questions may also be sent by facsimile to 307-26-7587; or sent electronically to: casper_wymail@blm.gov.

For more information contact Eve Bennett at 307-261-7517.

The BLM manages more land - 258 million acres - than any other Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western States, including Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.

- BLM -