The Town of Wickenburg has filed notice of its intent to appeal the federal Bureau of Land Management’s decision to partially close the Box Canyon recreation area. The documents were filed on June 20 at BLM’s Hassayampa Field Office in Phoenix.
Filing a Notice of Intent is the first step in the appeal process and will be followed within 30 days by a Statement of Reasons why the Town feels the BLM’s decision is incorrect. The appeal must be made on the entire Wickenburg Community Trails Master Plan and Travel Management Plan, rather than the Box Canyon decision alone.
BLM representatives announced the partial closure during a June 16 presentation to the Wickenburg Town Council, eliciting strongly negative reactions from councilmembers and the public. BLM’s decision calls for closing motorized access to the canyon annually from May through September to allow the riparian area to regenerate and improve habitat for the Yellow-Billed Cuckoo bird. Non-motorized access would remain available year-round.
“Since last Monday, we’ve been engaged in frequent conversation with BLM officials on the motorized access issue,” said Town Manager Josh Wright. “We will proceed with the appeal as a backup option while trying to find a common-sense solution that keeps Box Canyon open to all users throughout the year. BLM is listening and cooperating with us.”
Appeals of BLM decisions are heard by the Interior Board of Land Appeals, a panel of administrative judges appointed by the Secretary of the Interior. The process is often lengthy and expensive.Information on the Wickenburg Community Trails Master Plan and Travel Management Plan can be found at the link.