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Due to short deadlines County Protests BLM Plan

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June 18, 2003 09:48PM
Desert routes plan to draw county protest
MOJAVE: Supervisors object to being rushed, not to the substance of the
BLM's draft proposal.



SAN BERNARDINO - San Bernardino County will protest a plan by the U.S.
Bureau of Land Management to designate routes through nearly 3 million acres of the West Mojave Desert, the Board of Supervisors decided Tuesday.

The board is not objecting to the number and type of routes in the plan, said Anthony Adams, aide to Supervisor Bill Postmus, whose desert district includes much of the Mojave area. Instead, the county was not given enough time to analyze the route plan, he said.

The plan increases by about 15 percent the total miles of roads across the West Mojave, said BLM spokeswoman Jan Bedrosian. The plan is a required part of the larger West Mojave Plan that designates off-road vehicle routes on public lands as open or closed to motor vehicle access or open for restricted use.

The region covers about one-half of the county's land stretching from northern Los Angeles County, Kern and Inyo counties past Barstow to the state line.

The route plan was indeed rushed, said Bedrosian, due to a settlement in a lawsuit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity and other plaintiffs that set a June 30 deadline for designating routes. She said the BLM would have agreed to a time extension.

Daniel Patterson, a desert ecologist with the Center for Biological Diversity, said his organization also would have agreed to extending the deadline. It was not clear from Bedrosian and Patterson's statements why, if both parties agreed, an extension was not sought.

Patterson said the plan opens up too much desert land for vehicle use, while Adams said the plan is overly stringent on use of public-owned land.

There is still time for the public and county to comment on, and possibly influence, the final desert route maps. They are part of the West Mojave Plan to conserve wildlife habitat and plan the area's land use, which was made available for public review on June 9, Bedrosian said.

A draft of the West Mojave Plan and the West Mojave Routes of Travel can be reviewed at www.ca.blm.gov on the Internet.

Reach Sharon McNary at (909) 806-3062 or smcnary@pe.com

Due to short deadlines County Protests BLM Plan

katrina island 1309June 18, 2003 09:48PM

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