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Septemberr 1996

Golden Partnership Agreements highlight spectacular multiple use trails

By Michelle Dawson, Partnership/Outreach Specialist and Deb Rawhouser, Trails Specialist, Recreation Group (Bureau of Land Management)

To celebrate the Bureau of Land Management's 50th Anniversary during 1996, several trail organizations joined BLM in signing Golden Partnership Agreements and identified locations on public lands containing challenging and spectacular multiple use trails. These Golden Agreements were signed by Dave Lillard, President of the American Hiking Society; Robert Rasor, Vice president of the American Motorcyclist Association; Donna Chisum, President of California Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs, Inc.; Jim Hasenauer, President of the International Mountain Bicycling Association and BLM's Acting Director Mike Dombeck, at BLM's birthday celebration, on July 18, 1996, in the historic Department of the Interior Building, in Washington, D.C.

These Golden Partnerships spotlight the critical importance of protecting these public land treasures and underscore the various recreational opportunities available to millions of Americans at these outstanding sites. From the cactus and canyons of the Johnson Valley Trail System, to the cypress and geysers of the Red Elephant Mine Trails, enthusiasts can grip their handlebars in anticipation of the challenging ride and savor the exhilarating moments on public lands. Trails on BLM public lands encompass diverse terrain, from the 9,000 foot summit of Bald Mountain in Idaho to the depths of Paria Canyon in Utah and Arizona, from the wilderness of Montana to the slickrock of Utah. Recreational settings include desert mountain ranges, alpine tundra, evergreen forests, expanses of sagebrush, lush cactus deserts, ocean cliffs, lofty peaks, and arid sand dunes. Whether recreationists are inclined to hike up mountains or traverse flat lands, BLM public lands await with great trails. So pump up your tires, lace up your boots, fill up your water bottles, and put your "threads to the treads and the trails!" The time has come to explore, enjoy, and rediscover your public lands.

American Hiking Society's favorite sites include the Black Canyon Trails and San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area Trail System in Arizona, and the King Crest National Recreation Trail and the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail in California. The golden sites of the American Motorcyclist Association include California's Cow Mountain Off-Highway Vehicle Area Trails Systems, the Red Elephant Mine Trails, the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area Trail System, and the Chappie-Shasta Off-Highway Vehicle Area Trail System. California Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs, Inc. also favors the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area Trail System, as well as California's Bradshaw Trails, the Volcanic Table Lands, and the Molina Ghost Run Trail. The International Mountain Bicycling Association has selected the Sunshine Loop in Arizona, the Merced River Trail in California, Kokopelli's Trail in Colorado and Utah, and the Glade Run Trail System in New Mexico.

Mike Dombeck, BLM's Acting Director, worked as a river guide in Wisconsin before becoming a professional biologist. He says, "Trails are important because they portray diversity: diversity of uses, diversity of the people who use the trials, and diversity of place and fellowship experienced by each person." Dombeck also believes that there is a direct link between healthy public lands and quality recreation. "Sound public land stewardship rests on a simple premise: we cannot meet the needs of the people if we do not first secure the health of the land." According to Dombeck, "The way we deliver healthy and productive landscapes is by working with the people on the land."

Dombeck notes that, "By managing healthy ecological systems we improve trails and recreational opportunities which provide economic benefits to local and rural communities. It begins, however, with an agreement to work together with our dedicated partners to maintain and restore healthy ecological systems, an appreciation of the many benefits that flow from healthy, diverse, and productive public lands, and a commitment to educate the public about stewardship to protect and conserve the public lands by embracing the Leave No Trace and Tread Lightly ethic."

As stewards, BLM is working with its many committed partners typified by the strong support of American Hiking Society, American Motorcyclist Association, American Trails, California Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs, Inc., andthe International Mountain Bicycling Association , to ensure that this generation's children and future generations will always be able to enjoy the beauty and splendor of America's priceless legacy. BLM public lands were once considered the "lands nobody wanted." Today, they are recognized as a rich and marvelous legacy for the people of the United States &emdash; diverse, adventurous pathways connecting our past to our future.

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