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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- For the first time under a new policy, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is moving to recognize a local claim on a motor route across federal lands, in southern Utah.
Bald Knoll Road is a rough dirt track running for nine miles along an edge of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Vehicles need high clearance to travel the route, which is on BLM land near a national forest.
The BLM has tentatively ruled Kane County has a historic claim on this route, meaning it could be opened for regular use.
BLM officials say it's the first authorization of its kind, but it's only a 'preliminary determination.'
The BLM is taking public comment -- and conservation groups are blasting the decision, saying the road is nothing but faint tracks in the desert carved long ago by a coal company. They say Kane County offered no proof it was ever in regular use.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)