BLM proposes to reinstate 14-day stay limit at Virgin River Canyon Recreation Area
ST. GEORGE, Utah — In order to increase recreation opportunities at the Virgin River Canyon Recreation Area, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Arizona Strip Field Office (ASFO) is proposing to modify an existing supplementary rule that allows for camping stays of unlimited duration by reinstating a 14 consecutive-day stay limit at the site.
The proposed change, which is consistent with camping limits for other public lands across the Arizona Strip Field Office, would allow more members of the public to enjoy camping, hiking, fishing, scenic viewing, and boating from the popular site. The Virgin River Canyon Recreation Area provides recreational access to the colorful canyons and rugged cliffs of the Virgin River corridor, the Beaver Dam Mountains Wilderness, and the Paiute Wilderness.
“It is a priority of the BLM to increase recreational opportunities so more Americans can enjoy our spectacular landscapes and create lasting memories from the resources available to us through our public lands and waters,” said Lorraine Christian, Arizona Strip Field Manager. “We believe the change will have substantial, positive impacts for expanding existing recreational opportunities to members of the public who are seeking a variety of recreational opportunities.”
In 1994, the BLM, by notice in the Federal Register, established supplementary rules for the Virgin River Canyon Recreation Area that exempted the campground from the 14-day camping limitation. As a result, visitors paid either a daily fee or a reduced monthly fee to occupy a site. Because of the low cost, some visitors have used the site as a long-term residence, making recreation sites unavailable to other members of the public and resulting in cleanliness and sanitation issues.
The BLM prepared an environmental assessment on the proposed change, which included announcing scoping and public comment periods through mail, news releases, posts on the ePlanning web page, and announcements posted at the VRCRA. The BLM analyzed the public comments received, issued a finding of no significant impact, and published a decision record on February 6, 2019. The documents are available at: https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/112524/570.
The Notice of Proposed Supplementary Rule for Public Lands at Virgin River Canyon Recreation Area in Mohave County, Arizona was published in the Federal Register on June 15, 2021. The BLM is now conducting a 60-day public comment period and invites the public to participate by submitting comments on the proposed rule. Comments should explain the reason for any recommended change and will be accepted by mail and email until August 16, 2021.
Written comments may be mailed to the BLM, Arizona Strip Field Office, Attention: Amanda Sparks, 345 East Riverside Drive, St George, AZ 84790. Comments may also be emailed to email@example.com. All comments will be made available to the public.
The BLM will publish a final rule in the Federal Register that responds to any substantive comments and explains how significant issues raised by those comments were resolved.
This year, we invite everyone to reimagine your public lands as we celebrate 75 years of the BLM’s stewardship and service to the American people. The BLM manages approximately 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.