BLM approves Black Canyon Corridor Travel Management Plan
Final plan balances recreational activity with conserving natural and cultural resources.
PHOENIX – The Bureau of Land Management’s Hassayampa Field Office has finalized the Black Canyon Corridor Travel Management Plan Environmental Assessment that designates a travel route system north of the Phoenix metropolitan area. The travel management plan was designed to provide a variety of recreational activities while protecting natural and cultural resources on public lands.
The plan analyzed three travel management areas across a total of 166,165 acres, most of which are in Yavapai County. The southern portion of the project area extends into Maricopa County. These areas include the communities of Black Canyon City, Dewey-Humboldt, Mayer, and New River.
The BLM recently completed a 30-day public comment period and a 15-day extension to allow input from stakeholders and interested user groups. The BLM conducted initial analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act between 2016 and 2018.
“We appreciate the involvement of our partners and the public in helping to develop the best plan,” said Phoenix District Manager Leon Thomas. “This final plan will help balance the needs of public land users while conserving the natural environment and the area’s historic and cultural features.”
The finding of no significant impact, decision record, maps and supporting documents are available on the BLM’s National NEPA Register.
During the public planning process, the BLM identified and evaluated routes in the travel management areas. The final plan designates a route system with a mix of motorized and non-motorized use while providing for resource protection. The route system would allow for a variety of recreational activities by increasing the miles allowed for non-motorized activities such as hiking, equestrian, bicycling, and backpacking. In the interest of public safety and conservation of riparian habitat, there would be a decrease in miles designated as open to all use through the elimination of redundant routes and routes through riparian areas. Non-designated routes would be naturally reclaimed.
Improving trail and off-highway vehicle management minimizes impacts to wildlife habitat, lessens conflicts among recreation users, reduces the introduction and spread of invasive weeds, and prevents damage to cultural resources caused by the expansion of roads and trails on public lands.
Analysis included public scoping, stakeholder outreach, open houses, and public comment periods. The plan was developed thanks to collaborative efforts with user groups, local and county governments, and state agencies. Implementing the travel management plan is expected to take several years.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.