Yesterday, a coalition of conservation organizations — the Sierra Club, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Natural Resources Defense Council, Grand Canyon Trust, and Great Old Broads for Wilderness — sent a letter to Utah Governor Gary Herbert urging him to “support the creation of a transparent, fair, public process” to discuss a potential Greater Canyonlands National Monument in Southeastern Utah.
The letter was cc’d to the entire Utah congressional delegation, as well as Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley.
The conservation letter comes in response to a November 14, 2012 letter to President Obama from Utah delegation members Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee, and Reps. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz, which called for a public process to discuss the future of Greater Canyonlands.
In the letter to Governor Herbert, leaders of the conservation community write:
“We support the call for executive action to protect Greater Canyonlands. And like those members of the Utah delegation, we also support the creation of a transparent, fair, public process to achieve this. Such a process is something your office should encourage.
“An open process must include public hearings along the Wasatch Front and in communities closest to Greater Canyonlands and must also welcome input from all Americans, whose stake in this landscape is equal to that of Utahns. It must invite meaningful input from the general public and all stakeholders, including conservationists, scientists, tribal interests, recreationists and the business and development community. It must include an experienced, credible and neutral facilitator.”
The letter concludes: “We stand ready to work with you and we will follow up this letter with a request to meet with you personally to begin creating such a process to discuss the future of Greater Canyonlands.”
The Greater Canyonlands area is a landscape of plateaus, stunning geologic formations, 10,000 year old archeological sites, and unmatched natural beauty — including iconic Utah landmarks such as Labyrinth Canyon, Indian Creek, White Canyon, Fiddler Butte, Robbers Roost, Lockhart Basin and the Dirty Devil River. The area encompasses 1.4 million acres of Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) land surrounding Canyonlands National Park. In November, more than 100 outdoor recreation businesses urged President Obama to protect the area as a national monument.