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Coalition of Off-Roaders Asks Federal Court to Halt Closure of Public Trails in Moab

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The challenge hopes that a federal judge will declare the Bureau of Land Management’s road closures unlawful.
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A coalition of off-road groups took their challenge to the federal government’s arbitrary and illegal closure of over 300 miles of trails near Moab, UT, to federal district court for the District of Utah. The federal court filing follows a ruling by the Interior Board of Land Appeals to deny a stay of the closures earlier this month. Now it will be up to a Utah federal judge to decide whether the trails will remain closed while the litigation is pending, or whether they will be open and available to the hundreds of thousands of off-roaders, mountain bikers, dirt bike riders, and others who have enjoyed them for decades.

“The government has already announced that they would begin re-vegetating, bulldozing, and otherwise erasing these trails the moment they were closed. That is why an immediate injunction is necessary. If these closures are not immediately reversed, there could be no trails left after this litigation concludes, even after the plaintiffs win.”

Matt Miller, a Senior Attorney at the Texas Public Policy Foundation

The coalition, which consists of the BlueRibbon Coalition, Colorado Off-Road Trail Defenders, and an individual named Patrick McKay, is asking the federal court to issue a preliminary injunction that will allow the trails to remain open while the litigation is ongoing.

“Now that [the trails] are closed and the Bureau of Land Management will get to work erasing these trails from the landscape, the irreparable harm to our members will be difficult to quantify. It’s impossible to place a value on generations worth of traditions, experiences, and meaningful connections to these spectacular lands. The BLM didn’t just close 317 miles of trails, they closed 317 miles of some of the best trails, and we are prepared to do what it takes to keep them open.”

Ben Burr, BlueRibbon Coalition Executive Director

We’ll be following this story closely and encourage anyone who loves Moab— and open trails in general— to make a donation to the 4-star-rated, non-profit organization BlueRibbon Coalition.

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