Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Is National Park Service Abrogating Its Responsibility With The Tour Of Utah Bike Race?

Federal lands make up the majority of Utah's landscape, so it shouldn't be surprising that state roads crisscross those lands. But when a state road crosses a national park, and that road is going to be traversed by a bike race, should National Park Service approval be required? That's the question that arises in light of a professional cycling tour that will wind its way through Utah early next month. Along its 586 miles, the Tour of Utah will cross sections of both Cedar Breaks National Monument and Bryce Canyon National Park. In doing so, it will negotiate state roads -- Utah 143, which crosses a sliver of Cedar Breaks, and Utah 12, which crosses Bryce Canyon north of that park's wondrous hoodoo-filled amphitheaters. While a proposed professional bike race through Colorado National Monument outside Grand Junction, Colorado, has generated great debate, the Tour of Utah so far has been largely overlooked. Now, however, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility is curious about whether the National Park Service has "abandoned its authority to regulate and oversee conduct on state-numbered roads that traverse the two parks. " Don't be surprised if the Tour of Utah matter gains more and more attention. After all, if the Park Service continues to take a hands-off approach on it, promoters of other events who want to involve iconic parkscapes in their plans could point to it as a precedent-setting decision that would justify their plans...more

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