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Battle Brewing Over Changes To Public Land Rules

 A new federal plan could prevent off-roaders from using millions of acres of public land in Nevada.

And those who have become used to using some of Nevada’s remote public lands for off-roading aren’t happy about the changes being proposed by the Bureau of Land Management.

The BLM has been taking public comment on its plan since October. Because of the heated reaction, it extended the public review period until March.

The president of the Southern Nevada Off-Road Enthusiasts, Ken Freeman, told KNPR's State of Nevada the changes won't just impact ATV riders but other people who enjoy the desert landscape.

“This is going to effect mountain bike users anyone who likes to enjoy the Nevada outdoors,” Freeman said.

The new Resource Management Plan is the revision of a planthat has been in place since 1998. It would impact all public land managed by the BLM within Clark and Nye County, outside the Nellis Air Force Base.

The proposed plan does not cover the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area, Moapa Valley Wildlife Refuge and Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.

The plan could impact everything from energy development to off-highway vehicle designations.

Freeman acknowledges there are sections of public land that need to be protect, but he feels what the BLM is taking is too much. 

“Our problem is not areas that need to be protected. They’re basically locking the door shutting the gate and keeping us out,” he said.

He also points out that the events his organization holds pumps money into smaller communities outside of Las Vegas like Primm. Without the events, those communities could lose a lot of money. 

In the wake of last year’s standoff between rancher Cliven Bundy and the BLM, the battle over changes to public land use could get heated between those who use the land and those who manage it.

The Bureau of Land Management declined a request to respond. 


Ken Freeman, president, Southern Nevada Off-Road Enthusiasts
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Ken Freeman, president, Southern Nevada Off-Road Enthusiasts

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Prior to taking on the role of Broadcast Operations Manager in January 2021, Rachel was the senior producer of KNPR's State of Nevada program for 6 years. She helped compile newscasts and provided coverage for and about the people of Southern Nevada, as well as major events such as the October 1 shooting on the Las Vegas strip, protests of racial injustice, elections and more. Rachel graduated with a bachelor's degree of journalism and mass communications from New Mexico State University.