Nearly as soon as the San Rafael Resource Management Plan was completed, environmentalists were complaining about it.
"We were hoping it would offer stronger protection for a number of those sensitive areas in our wilderness proposals. Particularly in off-road vehicle management, it seems to fall short," said Rudy Lukez, conservation chairman for the Sierra Club's Utah Chapter.Off-road vehicles affect not only recreationists but cattle ranchers and others who use the watershed, he said. "We're also not satisfied there's been strong enough riparian (streamside) protection."
Others likely to be unhappy with the proposals are off-road enthusiasts and people who want a minimum of federal controls on BLM land.
For example, one couple wrote to the BLM that the draft plan was nothing more than a means "through ACECs (areas of critical environmental concern), special permits, scenic corridors etc. to control the area in a wildernesslike way if Congress doesn't do your dirty work for you.
"We suggest you leave it as is," adds the letter, which is printed in the BLM's second volume.
Off-road vehicles would be limited to designated roads and trails, complained Gary Macfarlane, conservation director of the Utah Wilderness Association, "but they haven't decided what the designated routes are in this plan."
He also had questions about putting off some decisions about grazing.
But overall, according to Macfarlane, the plan is an improvement over the draft version, released about a year ago. At that time, the final was expected out in May.
Lukez, however, said the Sierra Club is considering filing a formal appeal over the plan.