(Department of Interior Photo)
Tweet by @SecBernhardt. (2020, October 4). Great partnership at the local level has led to @BLMNational providing an incredible opportunity for socially distanced recreation at Glade Run Recreational Area. Get out and enjoy our great public lands.
On Oct. 4, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt was in Farmington, NM and visited the Glade Run Recreation Area. During his visit, Sec. Bernhardt discussed the recently developed partnership between the Bureau of Land Management and Glade Run to improve options for off-highway vehicles and plans to develop a campground. Sec. Bernhardt described the partnership as a model of various entities coming together to improve an outdoor recreation amenity. “It really is an example of what I hope we can do in partnering with communities to expand recreational opportunities,” said Sec. Bernhardt.
The recently passed Great American Outdoors Act provides the necessary funding to address deferred maintenance at facilities across the country. Sec. Bernhardt said locations across the United States have lists of deferred maintenance that needs to be completed because “really for 40 years, it’s not been our focus.”
The Glade Run Recreation Area is comprised of 19,000 acres and is split into two off-highway vehicle use zones. The northern three-quarters of the Glade are managed for limited trail use and 3,800 acres on the south end are managed as an open OHV area. Approximately 42 miles of marked trails for motorized trail bike and mountain bike riders are located in the limited OHV portion of the Glade Run Recreation Area.
(U.S. Forest Service Photo)
The unprecedented fires on public lands throughout California prompted state and federal officials to temporarily close 22 state parks and all 18 national forests that encompass more than 20 million acres across California. “The number of large fires and extreme fire behavior we are seeing across the State is historic,” said Randy Moore, Regional Forester for the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region. “These temporary closures are necessary to protect the public and our firefighters, and we will keep them in place until conditions improve and we are confident that National Forest visitors can recreate safely. I ask all Californians and visitors to take these closures and evacuations seriously for their own safety and to allow our firefighters to focus on the mission of safely suppressing these fires.” The closures took place effectively on Sept. 9.
“We understand how important access to national forests is to our visitors,” said Moore. “As we evaluate fire and weather conditions on a daily basis, we will continue to make adjustments to ensure safe visitation. Our aim continues [to be] to prevent any new fires on the landscape.”
Although the U.S. is only halfway through wildfire season, this year is one of the worst in history. According to recent figures from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, there have been nearly 8,000 wildfires that have burned more than 3.4 million acres in California. Since August 15, when the state’s fire activity elevated sharply, there have been 25 fatalities and some 5,400 structures destroyed. Click here to access the California daily wildfire updates and here to access the list of closed state parks.
Just a few hours before the Sept. 30 midnight deadline that could have caused a government shutdown, the Senate passed the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act on an 84-10 vote. This short-term funding bill will keep the government funded at current levels through Dec. 11. The House had previously passed the measure on a 359-57 vote. The President signed the stopgap spending measure within an hour after the midnight deadline, ensuring that the government would remain open.
Of interest to ARRA members, the stopgap measure also extends the highway bill through September 30, 2021. The highway bill includes the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) which is a critical tool for developing and maintaining recreational trails across the country.
The stopgap spending measure ensures another government funding debate after the November elections. In order for Congress to avoid a shutdown on Dec. 12, they will need to pass either another CR or the remaining 12 FY 2021 funding bills.
As states continue to reopen from COVID-19 restrictions, they are increasing recreational access to roads, trails, picnic areas, restrooms, and wilderness. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) continues to work with federal, state, and local authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and use a phased approach to increase access on a case-by-case basis. The following recreational area reopened in September:
According to BLM, dry conditions due to a lack of precipitation this spring, above normal temperatures, and mats of unburnt fuel from last year are resulting in an above-normal fire potential. BLM issued fire restrictions to the following areas:
BLM has issued temporary closures for:
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