National Trust Testifies on Impact of OHVs on Cultural Resources
Contributed By: The National Trust for Historic Preservation's Department of Public Policy
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National Trust President Richard Moe testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on June 5th regarding the management and limitation on the use of Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs) on public lands in the effort to protect historic and cultural resources.
Mr. Moe’s testimony highlighted four major shortcomings in the management of OHVs:
- The vast majority of federally-owned land remains unevaluated and OHV planning decisions are frequently based on assumptions and models that are seldom verified through site-specific inventories; as a result, cultural resources are being damaged, destroyed, or looted by irresponsible OHV users before archaeologists or Native American tribes are ever provided with the opportunity to identify them or determine their significance.
- Federal land management agencies are failing to uphold the requirements of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act NHPA during the development and implementation of travel management plans for OHVs.
- Enforcement of OHV designations and restrictions has been undermined by the lack of a meaningful law enforcement presence in culturally significant areas. There are simply not enough federal officers on the ground to enforce OHV designations and restrictions.
- Finally, land management agencies respond and capitulate to local governments and OHV groups during OHV-use decisions instead of acting aggressively when cultural resources are threatened.
Mr. Moe concluded his testimony by calling on federal agencies to take decisive and immediate steps to manage OHV use to protect cultural resources through improved planning and more vigorous and consistent OHV-use enforcement.
To read the complete text of Mr. Moe’s testimony, please visit http://www.preservationnation.org/issues/public-lands/additionalresources/ Richard_Moe_Testimony_OHV_ENR-Cte_06_05_08.pdf.
Reprinted by permission of the Public Policy Department of the National Trust
Keywords: The National Trust for Historic Preservation's Department of Public Policy, National Trust, Richard Moe, historic and cultural resources
Posted: June 9, 2008
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