SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Federal officials are beginning to decide how to manage more than 100,000 acres in southern Utah designated by Congress last year as important for conserving plants and animals, including the threatened Mojave desert tortoise.

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The U.S. Bureau of Land Management said Monday it's developing plans for the 63,500-acre Beaver Dam Wash and the 45,000-acre Red Cliffs area.

Both are newly created national conservation areas, where the top priority is preserving natural and cultural resources.

BLM officials say coming up with a management plan for the two areas will take about three years. The public will have several chances to weigh in.

The process will tackle several issues, including how much motorized and non-motorized access will be allowed.