Blog Archives - Page 2 of 106


  • February 4th, 2015

    Redrock ValentineAll of us who love the redrock have a story about that time when we first experienced redrock wilderness.

    With Valentine’s Day coming up, we want to hear your story. That’s why we’re hosting our “Share Your Redrock Love Story” raffle on Facebook.

    To participate, simply post to SUWA’s Facebook page a 50-100 word story about how you discovered and fell in love with redrock wilderness. Not on Facebook? Just send us an email at valentines@suwa.org with your story and you’ll be entered to win!

    Where were you? When? Who were you with (if anyone)? What made you fall in love with canyon country?

    Add a photo to your story and you’ll get two entries.

    You could win some cool prizes including packs from Osprey and Cotopaxi, free kayak rentals from Canyon Voyages in Moab, or a guided hike of the Fiery Furnace.

    Entries are due by midnight mountain time, Saturday February 14th. Winners will be announced on Tuesday February 17th.

    Be sure to like us on Facebook to see the stories others are posting.

    So what’s your story?

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  • January 31st, 2015

    A new White Paper from the Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources & the Environment at the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law has determined that when it comes to Utah’s Land Grab, “the public would suffer from this misguided effort.

    PublicLandsforSale

    “If Utah succeeds in taking over federal public lands,” the report concludes. “The public would have less, not more, input into land management, and all who utilize what are now public lands — industry and recreation interests alike — would see the cost of access increase substantially: ”

    The White Paper, titled “The Transfer of Public Lands Movement: Taking the ‘Public’ Out of Public Lands,” discusses Utah’s Transfer of Public Lands Act, or TPLA, which demands that the federal government transfer title to more than 31 million acres of federal public lands within Utah to the State. The TPLA has inspired eight other states to take up legislation seeking to control federal lands.

    The Stegner Center’s White Paper concludes that the TPLA hinders, rather than helps, efforts to advance public land management reform.

    Statements by TPLA backers signal a profound shift towards commodity production if Utah secures these lands, and even if more moderate voices prevail, a recent legislatively-commissioned report reveals that economic realities would force Utah to dramatically increase oil and gas development in order to cover new management expenses. Utah would likely also be forced to increase the rates it charges to all who access what were formerly public lands — including grazing permittees, mineral developers, hunters, anglers, and other recreational users. The public would also have less influence in land management decisions because federal planning and public input laws would not apply, and Utah has no comparable land planning or public participation requirements.

    Click here to read “The Transfer of Public Lands Movement: Taking the ‘Public’ Out of Public Lands”, which is a follow-up to “A Legal Analysis of the Transfer of Public Lands Movement,”  in which Professors Keiter and Ruple concluded that Utah has no legal basis to demand title to federal public lands.

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  • January 22nd, 2015

    This morning in Salt Lake City, former Secretary of the Interior and Governor of Arizona Bruce Babbitt called out Utah Governor Gary Herbert for leading the charge to seize control of federal public lands.

    Speaking to a packed audience of outdoor recreation industry representatives from across the county at the Outdoor Retailers Show, Babbitt noted that “Governor Herbert has proclaimed his personal enthusiasm for casting off federal environmental regulation” and warned that “the disappearance of outdoor spaces is an existential threat to your industry.”

    It’s also an existential threat to our way of life here in Utah. Like Babbitt, we “can’t imagine the West… as a landscape of locked gates, fences festooned with “NO TRESPASSING” signs, streams blocked off to fishermen, and campgrounds and hunting lands put on the auction block.”

    If you live in Utah, can you make sure Bruce Babbitt’s message is heard throughout Utah by sending an email to your state legislators today?

    If you live outside of Utah, please ask your representatives to stand up to protect Utah’s redrock country by cosponsoring America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act today.

    Your voice is important. For too long, radicals like State Representative Ken Ivory have been given free reign to push their privatizing public lands agenda.

    And while we’ve seen these types of attacks before, as Bruce Babbitt noted, “this time around the threat must be taken more seriously” because it “is a national effort, sponsored and produced behind-the-scenes by sophisticated lobbyists funded with torrents of cash from the oil and gas industry.

    “These new players are easing resentful racist characters like Cliven Bundy off the stage. They are bringing on political pros backed by groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council, funded from industry sources and seeking to dismantle environmental regulation.”

    Please, make sure your voice is heard over the industry lobbyists in Salt Lake City.

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  • December 10th, 2014

    The beautiful Indian Creek area to the east of Canyonlands National Park is once again threatened by a proposed all-terrain vehicle (ATV) trail. Please tell the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to deny San Juan County’s request for a right-of-way to construct this unnecessary trail.

    On two previous occasions we’ve notified you of San Juan County’s request for a right-of-way to construct a new ATV trail in the Indian Creek area. Based on overwhelming public opposition to the new trail, BLM has twice “revised” its Environmental Assessment (EA) by adding new alternative route alignments. Unfortunately, instead of taking the prudent path and choosing the “No Action” alternative, BLM continues trying to develop alternative alignments that will nevertheless result in the construction of a new ATV trail.

    Bridger Jack Messa.  Photo credit: Ecoflight

    Bridger Jack Mesa. Photo credit: EcoFlight

    In the latest EA, all of the alternative alignments for the ATV route will cross through lands identified by BLM as possessing wilderness characteristics; will facilitate increased ATV use in areas bordering the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park, such as Bridger Jack Mesa, Lavender Canyon, and Davis Canyon; and will result in increased user conflicts in an area that is primarily enjoyed by quiet recreationists such as rock climbers, hikers, and backpackers. The ATV trail could also adversely affect Indian Creek – a desert stream that supports a variety of wildlife species as it meanders through the redrock and high desert grasslands on its way to the Colorado River.

    The Indian Creek area, located on the east side of Canyonlands National Park and south of Moab, Utah, is famous for its dramatic and sheer Wingate Sandstone cliffs, and is an internationally-known and treasured rock climbing destination. Beyond the sheer walls, as Indian Creek continues its journey downstream towards Indian Creek Falls and its eventual confluence with the Colorado River, ATV users enjoy many miles of trails that provide for recreational adventures and exploration of the vast Canyonlands basin.

    Even though the BLM has designated more than 3,000 miles of motorized routes in San Juan County, including dozens of routes in and near the Indian Creek area, the county is requesting a right-of-way for yet another trail “which connects to ATV use occurring on designated routes in the Lockhart Basin area and . . . provide[s] a recreational opportunity for ATV enthusiasts by precluding use of OHVs [off-highway vehicles] which are wider than 65 inches.”

    The Indian Creek corridor is a world-class scenic and recreation destination and should be managed as such. There is absolutely no reason the BLM should relinquish its control over these spectacular public lands by granting a right-of-way to San Juan County for the construction of a new, superfluous ATV route. This is especially true given the hundreds of miles of motorized routes that already exist in the Canyonlands basin.

    There’s a reason the proposed ATV trail has raised concern from conservationists, quiet recreation user groups, and the National Park Service; the proposal simply does not make sense from any perspective other than through the lens of increasing ATV use in the Indian Creek area.  Increasing motorized use in a world-class scenic and recreation area, which also serves as the gateway to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park, is a shortsighted management approach by BLM. As such, the agency should uphold its responsibility to all public land users by choosing the “No Action” alternative.

    Please tell BLM, by December 18, 2014, to not grant a right-of-way for this unnecessary ATV route in the Indian Creek area by choosing the “No Action” alternative.

    With your help, we can stem the tide of ATV abuse in redrock country and preserve the scenic and wilderness qualities of the Indian Creek area.

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  • December 9th, 2014

    From E&E News (subscription required):

    LAS VEGAS — Debate over whether and how Utah should take over federal public lands is a “waste of time” and hinders constructive dialogue between Utah and land management agencies, said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

    Jewell spoke to Greenwire on the sidelines of the Western Governors’ Association winter meeting here last Saturday…

    Her comments came less than a week after a study by Utah universities found that the state “likely” could afford to take over and steward roughly 31 million acres of Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service lands within its borders, and could make a profit under certain energy revenue assumptions (Greenwire, Dec. 2).

    It’s important to note that the state can only “afford” to manage the lands in 2 out of 10 scenarios, in which oil prices remain consistently high.

    Utah’s takeover bid is a legal long shot and likely unconstitutional, legal scholars argue.

    But the economic study galvanized both supporters and opponents of the takeover plan.

    Jewell said the debate is irrelevant and counterproductive.

    “A relevant discussion is, ‘How can we work collectively with the states on the thoughtful management of public lands?’” she said. “I think it is a waste of time and resources to say we want to have a state takeover of public lands.”

    Jewell said states enjoy great benefits from federal lands in their states, such as mineral royalties, recreation, hunting and fishing, and quality of life. Land management is also paid for by the U.S. taxpayer.

    We agree.

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