BLM seeks comments on off-road use |

BLM seeks comments on off-road use

by Christy Chalmers, staff writer

The Bureau of Land Management is conducting a survey disguised as a college-level essay test.

Actually, the BLM wants public comments on off-highway vehicle use. But a form outlining some of the issues the agency wants to address asks respondents to list three solutions for each of four complex questions, and answering them may take some time.

Those who want to avoid the long form can give opinions during a meeting in Carson City tonight.

“It’s just kind of an open-house brainstorming session where we hope people will give us some ideas,” said Terry Knight, an outdoor recreation planner with the BLM.

The meeting will be from 7-9 p.m. at the BLM’s Carson City field office, 5665 Morgan Mill Road.

Knight said meetings were previously held in Reno and Winnemucca. The Carson City gathering is the last one planned this summer.

The BLM plans to forward comments taken throughout the summer to field offices around the country by the end of November. The comments are intended to be a “tool box” for the local offices to use in their respective communities.

That approach was endorsed by Douglas County leaders during a meeting Aug. 3. They said they hope the eventual plan will address conditions specific to different areas.

“It has to be taken individually,” said County Commissioner Kelly Kite. “It has to be a local input, local control situation.”

Commissioner Bernie Curtis agreed.

“The same plan for the Oregon coast won’t work for the Pine Nuts,” he said.

The BLM’s current off-road plan is based on a document that was written in 1972, when there were about five million off-highway vehicles. Since then, the number of the vehicles has grown significantly and improved technologies mean access to areas that were previously inaccessible.