Protecting Utah Wild Lands from Off-Road Vehicles

Earthjustice fought off an attempt toward the end of the Bush administration to open vast swatches of precious Utah wildlands to nearly unlimited off-road vehicle use.

Case Overview

In late 2008, the Bush administration attempted to cement its pro-development philosophy in the BLM’s land management plans applicable to Utah’s public lands for decades to come. These public lands include areas adjacent to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, Dinosaur National Monument, and Ninemile and Desolation Canyons. The development authorized under these plans will have severe impacts on wildlife, rivers and streams, cultural resources, and air quality in some of Utah’s most spectacular places.

On behalf of several conservation groups, Earthjustice filed suit in December 2008. In January 2009, Earthjustice obtained a temporary restraining order prohibiting BLM from finalizing the Utah leases until after the change in administrations in Washington. Once Obama took office, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that BLM would not finalize the leases, but would conduct additional environmental analysis.

In 2012, the 10th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals rejected a challenge by the energy industry against Secretary Salazar’s decision not to issue 77 of the leases.

Dinosaur National Monument in Utah.
Dinosaur National Monument in Utah. (Photo courtesy of Jpoage / Flickr)

Case Updates

Ragged Mountain
November 8, 2018 Press Release: Victory

Court Rejects Utah’s Efforts To Undermine Off-Road Vehicle Planning On 6 Mil Acres

Environmental groups have fought off an attempt by Utah to derail protections for public lands, including lands surrounding Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and Dinosaur National Monument

The Ragged Mountain proposed wilderness in the Henry Mountains and Fremont Gorge travel management area.
May 31, 2017 Press Release: Victory

BLM-Utah Will Revisit Decisions Regarding Off-Highway Vehicles And Oil And Gas Development In Red Rock Country

Longstanding litigation over six BLM-Utah land use plans and travel management plans brought to a close

Dinosaur National Monument.
January 25, 2017 Press Release

Settlement Reached on Utah Land Use Plans

Bush era land use and off-highway vehicle travel plans will be updated