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Our favorite stories about public lands and opportunities for you to get involved in protecting your outdoor experiences.


Outdoor Recreation Leaders Hail Draft Plan to Protect Recreation Resources for Moab, Utah

Tania Lown-Hecht

Listen to the full audio of today's telephone press conference here.

Outdoor Recreation Leaders Hail Draft Plan to Protect Recreation Resources for Moab, Utah

Recreation advocates announce upcoming campaign

Washington, DC – On a telephone press conference today, outdoor recreation leaders and advocates lauded the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) newly released draft Moab Master Leasing Plan (MLP) to manage oil, gas and potash development, and to protect recreation resources on public lands in the Moab, Utah region. You can listen to the call here.

“Moab is a world class recreation destination, contributing to the $12 billion in consumer spending and 122,000 jobs outdoor recreation supports in Utah,” said Jessica Wahl, Recreation Policy Advisor for of the Outdoor Industry Association. “Thoughtful planning through the Master Leasing Plan process can protect Moab’s recreation assets for years to come. We applaud the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management for taking steps towards ensuring healthy businesses and a healthy economy in the Moab area and we look forward to similar plans across the West.”

In fact, outdoor recreation, travel, and tourism support 47 percent of all jobs in Grand County, Utah and accounts for more than $200 million in local economic activity – including more than $70 million on BLM lands alone and nearly $150 million from the iconic Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.

“Osprey Packs in a western-based backpack design company that puts people to work by selling gear to people that visit Moab,” said Tom Barney, CEO of Osprey Packs. “Moab is at the top of the list for America’s most prized, world-class recreation areas.”

Outdoor industry leaders also announced efforts to thank Interior Sec. Sally Jewell, and U.S. BLM Dir. Neil Kornze, for the work done to date and urge for the adoption of the strongest possible plan to protect recreation resources in the Moab area.

“By enacting a strong Moab ‘master leasing plan,’ we can protect our parks and public lands that drive a diverse outdoor recreation economy, while ensuring responsible energy development,” said John Sterling, executive director of the Conservation Alliance.

The Conservation Alliance, Outdoor Alliance, and Outdoor Industry Association will kick off a campaign in support of a strong Moab MLP this coming Tuesday with a full page print ad in the Washington Post Express, as well as digital ads on Advocates will also build upon a coalition of more than 50 local and regional recreation businesses, and organize tens of thousands of recreation enthusiasts online.

“The public lands around Moab receive more than 2 million visits each year by people who want to hike in national parks, rock climb premier sandstone cliffs such as Indian Creek, or mountain bike on legendary trails such as Porcupine Rim trail” said Erik Murdock, Policy Director at Access Fund who works with Outdoor Alliance. “The world class recreation in the Moab area attracts many visitors but is equally valuable for residents and local businesses.”

The Moab MLP effort already enjoys strong support from local businesses in Moab and throughout Utah because it focuses on balancing energy development and potash mining with the areas robust recreation economy.

“Public lands are the bread and butter of Moab’s outdoor recreation economy,” said Ashley Korenblat, owner of the Moab-based Western Spirit Cycling and cofounder of Public Land Solutions. “Moab’s main street see visitors from around the country who come to enjoy a broad range of recreation opportunities on lands that surround the parks: including rafting, jeeping, hiking, mountain biking, climbing, and river running. And the list continues to grow.”

The draft Moab MLP was announced last week, and today the plan was official noticed in the federal registrar kicking off a 90-day public comment period.