Advanced Resource Solutions

Key Projects

ARS staff has experience with both state and federal land management agencies. A few of our recent projects include:
Arizona BLM Field Offices: Route Evaluation and Designation - Kingman, Lake Havasu, Phoenix, Safford, Arizona Strip, Tucson and Yuma Field Offices

ARS has assisted and is currently assisting all Arizona BLM Field Offices with route evaluation and designation utilizing the Route Evaluation Process©. ARS assists the field office staff with the necessary preparations for the evaluation meetings, including:

  • discussing and guiding staff through the Route Evaluation Process©
  • updating the criteria that would be identified during the route evaluation meetings to reflect those issues relevant to the local area
  • providing worksheets for use by the staff to prepare for route evaluation
  • assisting with GIS data preparation
  • assisting with the development of route network option criteria
  • facilitating agency staff specialists through the evaluation of routes and the creation of various route network alternatives
  • performing data quality review.

Arizona BLM GPS Field Route Inventory - Phoenix District Office and Kingman, Safford, Arizona Strip, Tucson and Yuma Field Offices

ARS performed GPS inventory for routes and point site data on BLM lands within the Phoenix District Office and the Kingman, Safford, Arizona Strip, Tucson, and Yuma Field Office Districts utilizing the Arizona Route Inventory Data Dictionary and following BLM route inventory protocols. This effort requires the inventory of more than 6,000 miles of routes utilizing 4WD vehicles and motorcycles. This data collection effort resolved numerous existing inventory data gaps that had resulted from data that was very old and/or that had been collected with inferior or inconsistent inventory techniques.

Recreational Trails/Route System and Facilities Inventory of Federal Lands Surrounding the Las Vegas Valley - Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act

ARS developed a consolidated GIS-based inventory of recreational routes and facilities to aid future planning efforts in the development of a plan(s) that provides amongst a number of things, planned recreational opportunities, recreational facility development, recreational routes connectivity between the various jurisdictions that comprise the Las Vegas Valley and Clark County, Nevada.Clark County contains approximately 4.95 million acres of Federal lands, primarily administered by four federal land management agencies: Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and U.S.D.A. Forest Service (USFS).ARS field staff successfully inventoried over 9,000 miles of backcountry routes under the land management jurisdiction of BLM, NPS, USFWS and USFS, ARS field inventory crews utilized Trimble handheld GPS units to identify routes and facilities within the Clark County area. 

The project primarily focused on routes on BLM lands with the field crews utilizing full-size 4WD vehicles, ATVs, and motorcycles to traverse the routes while gathering the GPS data.Data was downloaded daily to the on-site GIS support team for initial processing and data quality control, and then transmitted to the off-site GIS support for final data processing in compliance with BLM data quality standards.Maps were created daily for the inventory crews to utilize both for tracking their progress and for quality control.Relevant photo points (approximately 2,400) and field notes were captured by the inventory crews while in the field.

The data collected as part of this project was edited in accordance with National Mapping standards and was delivered in the form of electronic-based maps and supporting data that will eventually be utilized by the land management agencies to carry out comprehensive travel management planning. The planning effort will take place as part of a subsequent planning contract.

Dixie National Forest Working Groups and Public Meetings for Travel Management Planning

ARS assisted Dixie National Forest during their working group and public meetings introducing their Motorized Travel Planning project. Together with Forest Service staff, ARS assisted with defining and refining the agenda for the meetings, of which there were four working group meetings and five public meetings. ARS participated in each of the meetings by interacting with the members of the public and interested organizations by explaining the planning project, the technical processes used and answering a wide range of questions to provide the public with a better understanding of the overall goals of the project and the processes that will be used to reach those goals. With the feedback gathered from the meetings, ARS has assisted Dixie National Forest with further refining the project and possible future public outreach needs. The project was successful in raising public awareness and acceptance of the Dixie National Forest Motorized Travel Planning project. Through this collaborative process, the individuals and organizations were provided with an open opportunity to express their concerns and needs, have their questions answered and provide Dixie National Forest with their level of interest in participating further in the project.

Middle Gila Conservation Partnership: Route Evaluation, Data Collection and Planning

The Middle Gila Conservation Partnership (MGCP) is loosely composed of representatives of federal and State of Arizona agencies, BLM Resource Advisory Committee members, recreation user groups, environmental organizations, and ranching and mining interests that have a shared concern for future of approximately 1.2 million acres of public lands southeast of Phoenix, AZ.The partnership originated in September 2001 and typically meets on a monthly basis. The first two and one-half years were spent addressing the various aspects of disagreement amongst the various stakeholders and ultimately resulted in the development of desired future conditions for the area.Additionally, during this early phase, the stakeholders also agreed upon the collaborative planning activities the Partnership wanted to participate in to help reach these conditions. The overriding goal of the MGCP is to provide information, analyses and conclusion on motorized access routes to help the land managing agencies and the Counties develop a coordinated access route system for public use in this area.

In January 2004, ARS was hired to facilitate the evaluation of the routes in the MGCP planning area with the MGCP stakeholders and to develop with the MGCP a range of optional route networks that could be shared with the agencies.ARS was selected for this task by the Agency managers that were a part of the MGCP because of their awareness of ARS’ proprietary Route Evaluation Software©, which they felt could significantly help in organizing, documenting and resolving the various areas of disagreement amongst the stakeholders in this group.

After seven two- and three-day workshops with the MGCP stakeholders utilizing this proprietary approach to route evaluation, the partnership was able to develop with the assistance of ARS staff a range of route network options that they all supported.  These route network options and the extensive supporting environmental, commercial, military, administrative and recreational database were submitted as conclusions of the MGCP to the agencies in October 2005 for their consideration.  At this meeting the various federal and state agency leads enthusiastically embraced the work products.Especially poignant were the remarks of BLM’s Arizona State Director Elaine Zelinsky who remarked to the group that she viewed the Route Evaluation Process© and its software as “state of the art”.  Subsequent to that meeting, the results of this effort have been recognized by the Department of Interior and BLM offices in Washington D.C. offices as one of the most successful and cost-effective projects of its type nationwide and now is currently undergoing further study and review by those agencies.

Arizona Strip Resource Management Plan / Draft Environmental Impact Statement
ARS began working with the Arizona Strip BLM in 2003 by assisting in the identification of alternative criteria and management goals for the NEPA documentation.This was followed by ARS staff facilitating BLM staff with the evaluation and designation of motorized and non-motorized routes on approximately three million acres of public lands in northwestern Arizona, including the Grand Canyon-Parashant and Vermillion Cliffs National Monuments.During this phase ARS staff assisted with the facilitation of several public scoping meetings, as well as meetings with the various private and public collaborators on the Plan (e.g., local counties from Arizona, Nevada, Utah; NPS; local tribal councils; ranching associations, environmental groups, and various OHV and recreational groups). Following the route evaluation and designation phase, ARS staff facilitated with agency management staff the selection of preferred alternatives for the route networks on two National Monuments and the balance of the BLM Arizona Strip Field Office administrated lands (approximately 3.5 million acres).This was followed by ARS staff assisting BLM staff in the development and editorial review of those portions of the NEPA document (EIS) that related to travel management and recreation.
As a result of this project, Travel Management Planning specialists from The Wilderness Society, one of the largest national environmental organizations who have critically examined this Plan as well as many other USFS and BLM planning documents, recently complemented Arizona Strip District staff for those aspects of the Plan related to the supporting information and data related to the route network evaluation and designation. They specifically commented that the travel management documentation in this planning effort far exceed that in any other plan that they have reviewed nationwide. The various data to which they directed this compliment is largely a result of ARS' Route Evaluation Process Software© and its ability to interface with and expand the capabilities of GIS software.

Wolford Mountain Travel Management Plan - BLM Kremmling Field Office, Kremmling, Colorado

The staff of ARS assisted the BLM Kremmling, Co Field Office throughout the development of its Travel Management Plan of the Wolford Mountain planning area.This assistance occurred at all stages of the planning process.Initially it involved the facilitation of staff in discussions that identified the principal planning issues, travel management areas, alternative criteria, management goals and data necessary to meet agency planning guidance and other various statutory requirements.Throughout the development of the planning document, ARS staff assisted agency staff in the development of agendas and format for the various public open houses and as well as assisting in speaking and hosting those public forums.Utilizing the Route Evaluation Process© ARS staff assisted agency staff specialists with the evaluation of routes and the creation of various route network alternatives, directed the collection of data pertinent to such a planning effort, gave guidance and assistance with data interpretation and GIS analysis, and assisted with the editorial review of the document. 

This effort resulted in the development of an Environmental Assessment/Travel Management Plan that included a range of alternatives and a preferred alternative for both winter and non-winter uses.Assistant Field Office Manager Dennis Gale, who has served on many BLM and Forest Service planning efforts (both as a NEPA coordinator and roads engineer, respectively) commented that the use of the Route Evaluation Process saved the agency several months to years on the planning effort.    

This NEPA document was appealed by some public interest groups.This appeal as well as the EA and its supporting documentation have been reviewed by Colorado BLM’s State Solicitor’s Office. This document was appealed to the IBLA and it was upheld. The BLM Solicitor’s Office has shared with the Kremmling Field Office management that they feel very comfortable in defending the EA. The Solicitor’s Office shared that these feeling are based upon the fact that they feel that aside from it being an “excellent EA”, that its extensive use of supporting documentation and data, thorough administrative record and the standardized process used to create that documentation (Route Evaluation Process) will all assist in defending the findings of the document in the hearings. 

West Mojave Plan (WEMO), BLM California Desert District – Route Inventory/Mapping

ARS fielded a GPS field inventory crew of approximately 30 individuals in an area of approximately 5 million acres of the Southern California desert mapping remote unpaved roads and trails to collect data for the BLM West Mojave Plan.In addition to inventorying route locations and conditions, point and polygon features were collected (such as mining claim stakes and abandoned mines, campsites, staging areas, overlooks, cabins, utility lines, ranching facilities, etc.).Over 5,000 miles of routes were mapped and inventoried for recreational and commercial access attributes.This data was collected utilizing Trimble GPS units, downloaded, rectified and converted into an ESRI- based GIS software database for later analysis.

This effort was carried out under very rigorous conditions: temperatures often exceeded 105 degrees (F) and were as low as 10 degrees (F).Additionally, many routes hadn’t been traveled in decades and were in areas where existing map quality was hardly better than non-existent.Route conditions varied from passable to passenger cars to those only passable by technical 4-wheel drive vehicles or highly expert motorcycle riders.All this was accomplished amidst an environment of cynicism and doubt about the intentions and integrity of the BLM that emanated from not only the general public, but also local politicians including local Congressional delegations.Through the employment of rigorous outreach efforts by the staff of ARS and the direct involvement of members of the public in the route inventory effort, the cynical feelings about BLM’s efforts were largely diminished.This positive change in public attitude towards the BLM’s planning efforts (although not felt by all), was especially profound for the route inventory effort which eventually became for the most part widely embraced by that same cynical public.

This project at the time represented the single largest focused short-term route inventory effort in the Bureau of Land Management in terms of total mileage, acreage (approximately 5 million acres) and use/interest levels of the public (immediately proximate to the 17 million residents in the Los Angeles basin).The scale of this project has only been exceeded by the Las Vegas Valley route inventory project cited previously. The approximately 5 million acres that was inventoried for routes was a subset of the larger 9 million acre planning area and represented those areas deemed by agency staff to be of the highest priority for needing up-to-date route inventory data.The primary impetus for this project was the hope of regaining public confidence in the quality of data utilized in this planning process.Through the utilization of paid members of the interested public, training to insure standardization, rigorous attention to quality control and continuous efforts to keep the public informed of the project’s procedures/progress, the confidence of the public in the agency’s route data was restored.