The public comment period on a Bureau of Land Management environmental assessment recommending renewal of a five-year permit for the Annual Easter Jeep Safari and Labor Day Camp-out has been extended through Thursday.

In the environmental assessment, completed last month, the Grand Resource Area office of the BLM proposes renewing the permit for the sponsoring organization, the Red Rock 4-Wheelers Club, to use 28 trails for both events.The BLM originally set a Sept. 26 deadline for public comment on the study but extended the deadline in response to public requests. The environmental assessment analyzes effects on natural and cultural resources from use of trails in Grand and San Juan counties by more than 1,600 vehicles during a nine-day period ending Easter weekend.

An estimated 3,500 people from more than 30 states and two foreign countries have participated in the event, according to the study.

The permit restricts the maximum number of vehicles allowed on each trail to fewer than 50 daily during the Jeep Safari. The study recognizes that participation in the safari is likely to continue growing, and plans are to provide for six more routes over the five-year period, after each is evaluated in a separate environmental assessment.

The current study also addresses Labor Day weekend Jeep activity, which has involved fewer than 100 vehicles on three-day trips.

Expanded participation could add up to three new trails for the fall event, the study says.

Three conservationist groups had asked the BLM to consider an alternative proposal that would exclude off-road-vehicle use in areas identified in legislation by Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, as having wilderness characteristics.

That alternative was considered but not analyzed, according to the study, because the proposed areas do not fall within BLM wilderness study areas managed in accordance with the Interim Management Policy and Guidance for Lands Under Wilderness Review.