Mountain Bikers Help Save Original Red Bull Rampage Site
Ah, the sweet, sweet music of a government press release… Can anyone deny the thrilling, near-electric charge created by that marriage of words? Who could resist the sheer lyric beauty of nouns and verbs coming together in a paragraph, then slumping their shoulders and muttering, “Aw, screw it.” before dissolving into a pile of what-the-f*ck-ness?Well, if the silver-tongued folks who penned that press-release lost you within the first couple sentences, here’s what they were actually trying to say: The BLM has decided not to sell off the rights to drill for oil and gas on the old Red Bull Rampage site. Why? Because that government agency received a metric crap ton of comments from mountain bikers, protesting the proposed drilling—and many of those comments came from Pinkbike readers.
WAIT, WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?
Earlier this year, we reported that the United States Bureau of Land Management (or “BLM”) was considering selling two oil and gas leases on three parcels totaling 4,730 acres in and around Virgin, Utah. That acreage included the original Red Bull Rampage site. What's more, two of the parcels sit just a mile and a half away from Zion National Park. While the Red Bull Rampage event has moved on from the original location, daring souls still ride that first venue as well as area trails such as Flying Monkey. From a historical perspective, it'd be a shame to see the site of so many mountain biking "firsts" littered with new access roads, drilling platforms and drilling rigs. From an environmental perspective, the drilling posed a real risk to the drinking water of the local community. And, finally, there's the more aesthetic issue of dumping a giant dog turd on the doorstep of one of North America's most beautiful locales. On average, 4.3 million people visit Zion each year, bringing more than $270 million and 2,700 jobs to the local economy.
BLM REVERSES DIRECTIONThe BLM recently announced (that quotation at the top of the page) that they were withdrawing the parcels in question from the pool of lands open to drilling.A BLM spokesperson mentioned that his agency received in excess of 40,000 comments about the potential drilling on these three parcels that sit on Zion National Park’s doorstep, in Virgin, Utah. In other words, a whole lot of people got riled up.“Yeah, it’s actually a bit unusual,” says Ryan Dunfee. “The BLM doesn’t usually reveal how many people sent in comments in a case like this.”But then again… 40,000 people chiming in? That’s a lot of people....“Well, that part is a little weird,” says Dunfee. “Because I actually submitted more than 50,000 comments between the two campaigns that we sponsored, and I'm sure other organizations and citizens submitted their own comments.... But numbers aside, it’s a victory.”