PEORIA, AZ - The online off-roading enthusiasts’ community around the country recently showed concern that a popular Peoria recreation location would be shut down.
Popular online forums and discussion boards have been flooded with comments that one of their favorite off-highway vehicle spots would be closed due to a new land preservation project being implemented by the City of Peoria.
Forum members familiar with the Boulders OHV Recreation Area commented that “if (they) don’t take the time to voice their opinion…(they) won’t have a place to ride,” and that certain technicalities could make the land off-limits and “as if (recreation) was never allowed.”
City of Peoria planners noticed the rise in concern from community members and released a statement in mid-June, stating that they were not clear enough in their intentions of the new land plans and that they didn’t plan to shut down the OHV recreation area.
In a more recent joint clarification by Senior Planner Adam Pruett and project managers, Jeff Sargent and Shawn Kreuzwiesner, they said that they weren’t sure where the rumors came from.
“The city has not sought to close the Boulders OHV Area. We just weren’t specific enough in our document as to where such use would fit in,” the officials described.
They also noted that in the Sonoran Preservation Program, they defined two open space categories, passive (which will soon be changed to “managed”) and active. Active space includes recreation centers, sports fields and the like, while passive land includes hiking trails and "everything else."
“Our intention is that by identifying the area in our preservation program as an existing and future managed OHV recreation area, the city would have the opportunity to weigh in on the decision to close it should the Bureau of Land Management make such a proposal (of which they have not, nor have we heard anything indicating that they will)” officials stated, describing the current state of the OHV area.
As of now, the OHV area is in their planning area, but not completely in city limits and is owned and maintained by BLM.
As for the rest of the ongoing project, decisions are still being made on which parts of land will be protected, used and mapped out as wildlife habitats, archeological resources and other.
“While I can’t say that user input has influenced our plans for the area (we never intended to close it), it has brought to our attention some of the shortcomings of our document and the documents from other cities around the valley. We are certainly wiser for having received their input,” Pruett said.
The Boulders OHV Recreation Area is a popular off-roading location with a staging area and various maintained trails.
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