Call to Action - Labyrinth Rim / Gemini Bridges | Utah Back Country Pilots Association

Call to Action - Labyrinth Rim / Gemini Bridges

Posted October 2nd, 2022

Submit public comments before 10/07/2022 on the Labyrinth Rim / Gemini Bridges TMP via this link:

 

https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/2001224/595/8003171/comment

 

The BLM Moab office is holding a public comment period through 10/07/2022 to gather public comments on proposed route alternatives the the Labyrinth Rim / Gemini Bridges area. The area in question is on the east side of the Green River, stretching eastward over almost to highway 160, from the north end of Canyonlands NP northward almost to the city of Green River & I-70.

There are 6 Utah backcountry airstrips near the Labyrinth Rim / Gemini Bridges area:

    • Spring Canyon - 38.6397 N / 109.9692 W
    • White Wash Sand Dunes -38.8142 N / 110.0428 W
    • Big Flat - 38.548 N / 109.7663
    • Mineral Canyon airstrip (also known as Mineral Bottom), with FAA airport identifier UT75, should be specifically listed in the TMP as a designated and recognized airstrip, especially since the airstrip is on a granted Right of Way. Mineral Canyon GPS coordinates are 38.5293 N / 109.9946 W.
    • Big Flat as well as  Deadman Point


We all need to submit public comments to encourage the BLM to MAKE AVIATION AN ALLOWED AND RECOGNIZED USE in the RMP. Most of these airstrips were created during the 1950s as a result of uranium exploration during the Cold War. These airstrips have a historical use which pre-dates the creation of the Labyrinth Rim / Gemini Bridges areas. Although in recent years, there has been low use of these airstrips, that use should be preserved and not eliminated.

To submit public comments electronically https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/2001224/595/8003171/comment


The deadline to submit comments on the scope of the proposed EIS & RMP is October 7, 2022. As you craft your individual comments, here are some points that can be used to justify aviation as an allowed use for the backcountry airstrips in Utah:

  • Aviation should be included in the RMP as an allowable use.
  • Most of the Utah backcountry airstrips have been in existence since the 1950s, long before passage of the 1964 Wilderness Act. Access and use of these airstrips should be retained.
  • Aviation has a very small environmental footprint, the lightest footprint form of access to these lands. Airstrips do not have driving wheels and once landed, do not go “off trail.” Noise from aircraft is insignificant and transient and short duration as a recreational aircraft flies overhead.
  • Airstrips are situated on natural flat land features, such as level, open meadows with little occurrence of soil disturbance or erosion.
  • Airstrips can provide vital access to aid Search and Rescue, emergency response, and firefighting operations.
  • Airstrips offer possible life-saving options when small aircraft encounter mechanical problems or deteriorating weather conditions while flying over the relatively hostile terrain in southern Utah.
  • Airstrips are an excellent addition to the administrative needs for supervising the lands.
  • Airstrips transcend the need for roads and offer widely dispersed recreation activities.
  • Peer-reviewed research supports noise from small aircraft has no detrimental impact on wildlife.
  • Backcountry airstrips offer recreational access to the disabled and those with limited mobility and without the need for strenuous physical activity to enjoy our public lands.
  • Airstrips are trailheads: aviators are non-motorized recreationists, participating in hiking, camping and other low-impact activities.
  • Backcountry aviation offers a positive economic impact, with aviation fuel sales, food and lodging, sale of provisions and supplies, and other tourist-related support for the surrounding communities.
  • The Utah Backcountry Pilots have successfully renewed MOUs in place with the BLM to provide cooperative maintenance of backcountry airstrips.

 

More information about this area and the comment period can be found here: https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/2001224/595/8003171/comment


Thanks again for your continued support of our efforts to preserve and protect Utah's backcountry airstrips. And many thanks to Board Member Wendy Lessig for keeping up on these comment periods!

The UBCP Board