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Opponents of the 370-mile endurance race planned April 25 in southern Utah have asked Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt to meet with them and devise an alternative route.

Two dozen representatives of conservation organizations, outdoor and educational groups and Indian tribes signed a letter to Babbitt."Short of this, we strongly urge you to advise the Interior Bureau of Land Appeals (IBLA) to issue a stay," said the letter, drafted primarily by Janet Ross, executive director of the Monticello-based Four Corners School of Outdoor Education.

Nine environmental groups have been seeking to overturn a Feb. 9 decision by Kate Kitchell, the Bureau of Land Management's Moab District manager, to allow Eco-Challenge Lifestyles Inc. to conduct the race.

Kitchell determined the competition could proceed, but largely restricted the course to existing roads, trails, wash bottoms and waterways.