BLM starts Middle Gila South Transportation Plan
TUCSON, Ariz. – The Bureau of Land Management Tucson Field Office is starting an access and transportation management planning process that will designate roads and trails on BLM lands in the Middle Gila South travel management planning area. The resulting travel management plan will identify the transportation system that will be maintained for multiple land use activities, public land infrastructure, hunting, and other recreational opportunities.
These public lands provide outstanding opportunities for hunting deer, javelina, quail, and other species; off highway vehicle driving, mountain biking, equestrian riding, sightseeing, camping, and other recreational activities in iconic scenic Sonoran Desert mountain and canyon landscapes.
The public is invited to provide input on access needs, issues, and concerns from October 1 until November 17, 2022. The BLM will consider input to evaluate the existing route system, determine appropriate management designations and options, and analyze the potential impacts from the access and transportation route designations.
The planning area includes approximately 60,000 acres of BLM land about 40 to 60 miles from Tucson, near small communities in Cochise, Gila, Pima, and Pinal counties. BLM lands include approximately 700 miles of existing routes intermingled with Arizona State Trust and other lands. Most of the existing routes are unmaintained primitive roads or trails in poor conditions, with drainage and erosion problems.
“Arizona’s growing population and increased seasonal visitation create great demand for outdoor recreation,” said Gila District Manager Scott Feldhausen. “By designating and maintaining the public land access routes, visitors will enjoy a variety of recreational opportunities and the BLM will better manage the area reducing environmental impacts and conflicts with other public land uses.”
Information about the project including an interactive map and comment input form is available at BLM’s National NEPA Register. Comments may also be submitted by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The BLM will conduct two virtual Zoom meetings to provide information about the project and how to participate in the planning process:
Meeting 1: Oct. 19, 2022, 5-6:30 p.m., https://bit.ly/3LtYse0
Meeting 2: Oct. 20, 2022, 5-6:30 p.m., https://bit.ly/3DKlR9n
An environmental assessment for the proposed access and transportation management plan will be prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, and opportunities for public review and comment will be available at milestone stages throughout the process.
Completion of the access and transportation management plan and environmental assessment is expected in July 2023.
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.