Ask the BLM to protect wilderness in southwestern Utah

Red Mountain
Red Mountain Wilderness photo by Ray Bloxham

On March 30, 2009, President Obama signed the Omnibus Public Lands Act of 2009, which included 138,000 acres of wilderness designation on BLM lands in the southwestern corner of Utah – a highly diverse landscape where the Colorado Plateau, Great Basin and Mojave Desert regions converge.   The legislation designated Canaan Mountain, Black Ridge, Doc’s Pass, Cottonwood Canyon and Red Mountain as official wilderness areas.  BLM is currently accepting public comment on the Cottonwood Canyon and Red Mountain Wilderness Management Plan.  You can help shape the future management of these pristine wilderness areas.

The Cottonwood Canyon and Red Mountain Wilderness areas, located adjacent to St. George, Utah, provide for exceptional wilderness experiences within close proximity to a bustling urban environment.  The Cottonwood Canyon Wilderness, consisting of 11,667 acres located within the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, contains stunning sandstone domes and intimate winding canyons.  The 18,689 acre Red Mountain Wilderness, bounded in part by the Santa Clara River, Snow Canyon State Park and lands of the Shivwits Band of Paiute Indians, contains vast expanses of red sand and slickrock and affords scenic vistas of the Beaver Dam Mountains and island mountain ranges in Nevada.

Even with wilderness protection, the wilderness character of Cottonwood Canyon and Red Mountain could be degraded through a hastily developed management plan.  Poorly regulated commercial use, scientifically unsound restoration projects and misguided wildfire management pose the same threats to wilderness as they do to public lands lacking the elevated protection that wilderness designation affords.

This is your chance to let BLM know that protecting the solitude, naturalness and primitive nature of these wilderness areas is paramount for the wilderness plan.  The deadline for submitting comments is Friday, May 20, 2011.  Please make your voice heard by sending the attached letter or by sending personalized comments to utsgmail@blm.gov with the subject line: “Wilderness Planning”.

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