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Cross Bar Permit Requirement

(July 1, 2004) - The Bureau of Land Management's Amarillo Field Office is issuing a supplementary recreational permit rule. This rule is being issued to protect the unique natural resources present on BLM lands known as the Cross Bar from damage through over use by the public. On those public lands administered by the BLM in Potter County, Texas, it is prohibited for members of the public to enter without permit authorization.

Totally surrounded by private lands, the Cross Bar BLM lands overlie an active gas field and helium storage dome. The Cross Bar property was completely closed to all public use from its 1931 acquisition until 1997 when the U.S. Bureau of Mining (BOM) Office in Amarillo, Texas, became part of the BLM. In spite of there being no legal physical access to the property, approximately 10,000 visitor-days use occur there each year. The Cross Bar is the only BLM-managed land in the State of Texas. Amarillo and its metropolitan area has a population of over 200,000 individuals and is only a 20-minute drive from the property. Unlimited public access to the Cross Bar property could cause unacceptable impacts by the public in a short period of time. The Cross Bar is adjacent to a highly utilized off-highway vehicle (OHV) area on the Canadian River owned by the State of Texas. The public utilizing the Canadian Riverbed for OHV purposes frequently cuts fences and drive their OHV's onto the Cross Bar lands. Large numbers of people walk onto the property from the river during a variety of hunting seasons. In order to control numbers and prevent over use of this unique area, BLM proposes to allow public access only under a closely controlled and monitored permit system.

On those public lands administered by the BLM in Potter County, Texas, it is prohibited for members of the public to enter without permit authorization. Permits will be available at the BLM, Amarillo Field Office, 801 S. Fillmore St., Suite 500, Amarillo, Texas, from Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The permits will be for day use only, but use can be for any day of the week. Until such time as legal physical access is acquired to the Cross Bar BLM lands, the permits will only cover use by the recreating public willing to walk into the property from the Canadian River.

Under section 303(a) of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1733(a)) and 43 CFR 8360.0-7, if you violate this supplementary rule on public lands within the boundaries established in the rule, you may be tried before a United States Magistrate and fined no more than $1,000 or imprisoned for no more than 12 months, or both. Such violations may also be subject to the enhanced fines provided for by 18 U.S.C. 3571.

For additional information, please contact Paul Tanner, Natural Resource Specialist, BLM, Amarillo Field Office, 801 S. Fillmore Street, Suite 500, Amarillo, Texas 79101-3545, (806) 356-1008.

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