United States Department of the Interior

New Mexico State Office
1474 Rodeo Road
P. O. Box 27115
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87502-0115


1780 (93100)P November 26, 1997

Groupwise Transmission - 12/03/97

Instruction Memorandum No. NM-98-009

Expires: 9/30/98

To: DM's and AM's

From: State Director

Subject: Transmittal of the New Mexico Bureau of Land Management Resource Advisory Council Off Highway Vehicle Recommendations

As you are aware, the New Mexico Resource Advisory Council (RAC) has been working on and completed the Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) Recommendations. During the last RAC meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on November 20-21, 1997, the New Mexico Bureau of Land Management (NM BLM) agreed to distribute the "BLM RAC OHV Recommendations" dated June 26, 1997, to the Field Office Managers in NM. A copy of the recommendations is attached for your implementation as appropriate in your offices' activities.

If there are any questions, please contact Dave Mensing. Dave can be reached at the New Mexico State Office at 505- 438-7418.

Signed by: Authenticated by:
Richard A. Whitley Sophie Leyba
Acting State Director Office Automation Assistant

1 Attachment

OHV Recommendations (2 pp)


WO (240, Karen Slater), LS, Rm. 401 - 1

RS-100 - 1

NM (950, DSD) - 1

NM (912, Chief OEA) - 1

NM (931, Bob Armstrong) - 1

NM (931, Dave Mensing) - 1

Cecilia Abeyta

Office of the Lt. Governor

State Capitol Rm. 417

Santa Fe, NM 87503 - 1

BLM RAC OHV Recommendation

June 26, 1997

The New Mexico BLM RAC has developed proposed standards for sustaining the health of BLM lands in New Mexico. Proposed guidelines have been developed for users who graze livestock on these lands to assist them in meeting the standards.

Recognizing that the public land users other than those related to livestock grazing activities also contribute to rangeland health conditions, the NM RAC offers the following recommendations that apply to management of off-highway-vehicles (OHV) on public lands.

NM BLM should:

1) Assign higher priority to off-highway-vehicle (OHV) management activities, especially through on-the-ground presence during hunting seasons and at other high use times or areas.

2) Cooperate and coordinate with the US Forest Service, NM Dept. of Game and Fish, NM State Land Office, NM State Parks Division, and other federal, state, county and local agencies in developing policies for OHV management.

3) Develop area OHV plans using detailed proposals from OHV, environmental, BLM and other public land users, working together as a team. Plans should include inventory of roads and trails, designation of routes and areas, mapping of areas and systems, and enforcement of all designations without prejudice. Such plans should emphasize low impact recreational experiences.

4) Inventory unpaved roads and trails on public lands in New Mexico, provide updated maps for the public, increase and improve signage, and designate usable roads, trails, and "open" areas. BLM should utilize the services and expertise of the state and local OHV associations and clubs, and other public land users. BLM should develop creative funding mechanisms such as grants, user fees and/or volunteer services and permit fees, in order to maintain OHV routes and areas as well as to fund enforcement, inventory, mapping, and signing efforts in these areas.

5) Develop OHV information and training programs for users and managers that parallel those of other land management agencies; and support Tread Lightly and other educational efforts.

6) Work to coordinate and improve enforcement, especially for better hunt management (increased presence), including more stringent penalties to effectively deter OHV use violations. Encourage and promote volunteer trail patrols, facilitate education and develop patrol standards.


7) Change general open OHV designations to - limited to: designated; roads, trails, and specific use locations. Close designated sensitive areas. Cross-country travel (unmanaged travel not on existing roads or trails) should not be allowed without agency authorization. Unanticipated resource damage or lack of maintenance or enforcement funds could be a reason to consider temporary or permanent closure of the designated OHV trails in question.

8) Consider other options for the development of OHV opportunities; i.e., on private land or utilizing private/public partnerships.

9) Consider the needs of persons with disabilities and their access to roads, trails and hunting opportunities utilizing off-highway-vehicles.

10) Consider the option that roads may be gated to help protect against habitat fragmentation, vandalism, etc.

These recommendations may not apply to permittees due to the fact their actions are covered by other authorizations.


Closed - A designation that should be applicable to designated wilderness and wilderness study areas, lands where unresolved and unmitigated degradation or damage has occurred, or where the BLM has designated sensitive areas, endangered or threatened species habitat, or areas of critical environmental concerns.

OHV Use - Any use by a motorized vehicle off paved roads and roads and trails regularly and frequently maintained for general transportation purposes. Back country roads which are used for a specific purpose such as oil and gas operations or livestock grazing are considered as off highway vehicle routes. OHV use can involve cross-country, road, and trail use.

Open - A designation that should be limited to specific locations that have no designated endangered species, rare plants and/or animals, cultural and/or historical areas, wilderness study areas, or areas of critical environmental concern.

Permittees - Interests, such as oil and gas, ranching, recreational (including both motorized and non-motorized), and others, that are permitted for specific activities.

Route of travel - Any road or trail that is at least two feet wide and shows significant evidence of prior use. In case of washes, a wash is considered a route of travel if it is traditionally used as a route of travel and connects existing routes.