BLM seeks input on proposed Middle Gila South Transportation Plan
TUCSON, Ariz. – The Bureau of Land Management Tucson Field Office released a draft environmental assessment for a 30-day public comment period on the proposed Middle Gila South Access and Transportation Management Plan and Environmental Assessment. The public comment period closes Aug. 31, 2023.
The environmental assessment analyzes the potential direct, indirect and cumulative effects associated with designating and maintaining a transportation system on approximately 212,000 acres of BLM-managed public land close to Tucson and Phoenix and near small towns and communities in Pinal, Pima, Cochise and Gila counties. The plan and alternatives were developed with public input on access and transportation needs for multiple land uses including hunting and other recreation opportunities.
“The plan will help the BLM manage public lands to meet growing demands for land uses in the planning area and associated access issues identified by the public,” said Tucson Field Manager Colleen Dingman. “It will ensure the area continues to provide recreation and access opportunities for current and future generations.”
The proposed travel management plan would designate routes to provide access for motorized and non-motorized travel, establish maintenance guidelines for the designated routes depending on the type of access, and identify use restrictions to protect resources, public safety, and avoid or minimize conflicts among users. The proposed plan would maintain access for multiple uses, including a variety of motorized and non-motorized recreational activities such as big and small game hunting, off-highway vehicle riding, hiking, horseback riding, bicycling and camping.
Public comments received in fall 2022 helped identify access needs to develop preliminary access alternatives. Public comments received during scoping in spring 2023 helped identify issues, concerns and alternatives for planning and analysis in the environmental assessment.
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.