A call for action – Redrock Report June 2012

Here’s what is happening this month with the redrock:
1.  Aron Ralston promotes Greater Canyonlands monument.
2.  Are these R.S. 2477 claims highways?
3.  BLM agrees with SUWA on failure to protect artifacts.
4.  Grassroots actions and event in Utah & Colorado highlight Greater Canyonlands.

In Ogden, Aron Ralston calls for a Greater Canyonlands monument

On June 14th Aron Ralston enthralled the crowd at Peery’s Egyptian Theater in Ogden, Utah with the story of his harrowing experience in Utah’s Blue John Canyon and a compelling call for protection of Utah’s wild landscapes.

At Peery’s Egyptian Theater in Ogden, Aron Ralston issued a compelling call for protection of Greater Canyonlands.

At the event, which raised over $14,000 for SUWA, Aron urged President Barack Obama to designate 1.5 million acres of Utah’s spectacular Greater Canyonlands region as a national monument and helped us collect hundreds of postcards from audience members in support of that action.

YOU can join Aron in advocating for a Greater Canyonlands National Monument. Here are some ways you can get involved:

1) Participate in our Facebook photo campaign and spread the word about Greater Canyonlands by sharing your photo.  Once you upload your photo, you’ll be entered to win a monthly prize!  June’s prize will be bike accessories, courtesy of Wasatch TouringClick here for some examples.

2) Share our new series of blog posts about Greater Canyonlands on Facebook, Twitter, and your other social networks.  Read about the threats to the Dead Horse Point viewshed, Indian Creek, Hatch Point, and White Canyon.

3) Invite your friends to “like” the Protect Greater Canyonlands Facebook page.

4) Sign and share our Change.org petition to Protect Greater Canyonlands.

And visit greatercanyonlands.org for other ways to get involved.

Thanks to the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance and Patagonia for their generous donations from the Aron Ralston event.

Is this a highway?

It sounds innocent enough. Revised Statute 2477, enacted in 1866, simply provides that “[t]he right of way for the construction of highways across public lands, not reserved for public uses, is hereby granted.”

An R.S. 2477 claim in Canyonlands National Park.

Congress repealed R.S. 2477 when it passed the Federal Land Policy and Management Act in 1976, but if an R.S. 2477 claim were valid in 1976, it remains valid today. Thirty-six years after R.S. 2477’s repeal, the State of Utah has filed massive lawsuits to gain rights to over 12,000 of these so-called “highways.”

What are we talking about here?  There is no controversy over about 2,000 of the routes in the litigation.  As our Associate Director Heidi McIntosh argued in The Salt Lake Tribune last month, “Taxpayer money to litigate these claims is wasted, unless your goal is simply to pick an ideological fight.”

The vast majority of the routes in the state’s lawsuits are simply not roads in the way we normally think of them. But if established, they would threaten wildlife habitat and introduce engine noise and scars where natural quiet and beauty once reigned, irreparably damaging national parks and wilderness areas.

See for yourself.  Click here to view some of the state’s R.S. 2477 claims and ask yourself, “Is this a highway?”  We’ll be posting more on Facebook in the coming months to illustrate this egregious attack on our public lands.

BLM concedes failure to protect artifacts on ATV Safari routes

Example of an archaeological site threatened by the ATV Safari. Photo copyright Liz Thomas/SUWA.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has agreed with SUWA that it failed to comply with federal law when it issued a permit for an all terrain vehicle (ATV) “safari,” a three-day affair in which as many as 400 ATVs travel over 500 miles of routes on public land in southeastern Utah’s San Juan County, including many routes in the Greater Canyonlands area.

The BLM’s pledge to follow the law in the future is welcome and SUWA will be watching to make sure it does.

Read more by clicking here.

Grassroots events and actions highlight Greater Canyonlands

In addition to Aron Ralston’s talk in Ogden, redrock activists have been going wild for Greater Canyonlands!

Climbers for Greater Canyonlands in Boulder, CO.  Photo courtesy Fran Bagenal.
  • At the 1st Annual Moab Earth Day Bazaar: An Ode to Greater Canyonlands, SUWA staff spent the day discussing the Greater Canyonlands campaign with the local community and and how individuals can get involved to help raise awareness of Greater Canyonlands locally and nationally.
  • Renowned rock climbers Lynn Hill and Steve “Crusher” Bartlett spoke about “protecting our desert playground” to the Boulder, CO climbing community.  About 150 members of the audience signed postcards and enthusiastically held up “President Obama: Protect Greater Canyonlands!” signs in support.
  • Greater Canyonlands “Banner Brigades” in Boulder and Colorado Springs, CO got the attention of President Obama’s motorcade!  To volunteer for a future banner brigade, click here to sign up.
  • Redrock activists joined SUWA’s summer Colorado intern Eli Lane to collect hundreds of postcards at the Boulder Creek Festival in Boulder, CO and the Denver People’s Fair in Denver, CO.
  • Also in Colorado, SUWA is phonebanking residents and encouraging them to contact President Obama to let him know that they support a Greater Canyonlands National Monument.


Steve “Crusher” Bartlett will be giving a second talk about “Cliffs, Canyons & Climbers” in Denver, CO on June 26.  Click here for more information and to invite friends on Facebook.

Eli Lane, our summer Colorado intern, will be tabling at various events in the Front Range area in Colorado throughout the coming months.  If you would like to volunteer, please contact him at eli@suwa.org.

Sign the petition to protect Greater Canyonlands