2019 Stewardship Impact Summary

What a year! As we push onward under a deeply problematic administration, we take time to revisit those encouraging stewardship moments and milestones of the past year to buoy us through these trying times. Join us as we recap the year now nearly past, covering our Stewardship Program’s initiatives, progress, and on-the-ground project work in 2019.


A note on our volunteers:

“From the seasoned canyon country savant to the first generation college student camping her first night in wilderness, our volunteers are true stewards of Utah’s wild places. With a passion for learning through experience, a willingness to go where the work is – no matter how far from the familiar, and a commitment to carry the cause from canyon country to community centers, our volunteers (as one BLM ranger put it) “set the bar” for conservation volunteering in Utah.

At the heart of wilderness protection in Utah have always been the wilderness protectors. We all have an obligation not merely to raise the issues, but to raise the voices that weigh wilderness as a fundamental right of the many. These voices – young and old, alike and unalike –  reflect back the worldviews that will define our movement through the 21st century. So long as there are willing hands and minds, we will guide them into the wilderness.”

Jeremy Lynch
Stewardship Director


First Generation College Students from the University of Utah work on travel compliance issues near the newly designated Mexican Mountain Wilderness.

Wilderness Stewardship Trainings
In 2019, we hosted the 2nd annual Wilderness Stewardship Training in Washington County as well as the inaugural Salt Lake City Wilderness Stewardship Training. These trainings equip volunteers to collect critical data about on-the-ground conditions in designated wilderness and wilderness study areas. Over the past two years, our Stewards have dedicated hundreds of hours hiking over 500 miles of wilderness boundaries and interiors. The community created around monthly meetings of Stewards have led to improved, targeted management of issues that arise on wilderness-quality lands. This data guides development of best management strategies for protecting these wild places from the impacts of off-road vehicle travel. We could not do any of this work without the perennial commitment of our Stewards!

The inaugural class of SLC Wilderness Stewards at our training in August.

Trainees review America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act proposal maps before visiting actual parcels as part of the two-day training.

Field Service Scholarship
Working with our Grassroots Team, we rolled out the Stewardship Scholars Program to support more inclusive volunteer engagement with underserved communities in Utah. In 2019, (3) scholars joined projects in Grand Staircase-Escalante NM, the Deep Creek Mountains, and the La Sal Mountains. The reciprocity of these efforts will grow in 2020 as we continue to foster new voices through providing equitable opportunities to get involved on-the-ground.

2019 Stewardship Scholars in the La Sal Mountains, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and the Deep Creek Mountains.

Service Projects
With the addition of our Stewardship Coordinator, we conducted more projects and worked with a wider range of volunteer groups in 2019 than in years past. The list includes our steadfast members, a slew of Utah students, our Field Service Scholars, and members of the public from all ages and backgrounds. Combined, our 250 volunteers put in 46 project days and nearly 3,500 hours during 21 service projects on public lands across Utah in 2019. For all that we could say, the pictures speak loudest. Enjoy the “slideshow” – we hope it inspires you to join us again (or for the first time) in 2020!

Students from Salt Lake Community College work on travel compliance in wilderness study areas in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Volunteers joined three projects over seven months installing primary wilderness study area signage across seven West Desert WSAs.

Our Bears Ears volunteers worked with the Forest Service on travel compliance in the Dark Canyon Wilderness.

Two projects addressed wilderness boundary violations in the Cedar Mountain Wilderness. Our small and hearty crews traveled from Salt Lake City in the middle of the week to accomplish the work.

Our second season of work in the Deep Creek Mountains saw volunteers install boundary-delineating buck and rail fence to ensure travel compliance in the Scott’s Basin wilderness study area.

A hearty crew of 20 volunteers backpacked into the High Uintas Wilderness to address camping compliance along lake shorelines above 10,000′. For some, it was their first backpacking experience!

For National Public Lands Day, we took to the river, rafting Westwater Canyon to a site in the wilderness study area in need of native vegetation restoration.

For every long day’s work is a meal with a view in good company. Beat that!

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