Dave Pacheco, Author at Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance


  • March 16th, 2016

    On Tuesday, March 15, a group of students from campuses along the Wasatch Front gathered at the Utah State Capitol in united opposition to Rep. Bishop’s Public Lands Initiative (PLI), and to show support for a Bears Ears National Monument as proposed by a historic coalition of Native American Tribes. After speaking to the media, they delivered a letter to Governor Gary Herbert outlining their concerns.

    “We are the generation that will inherit the problems that come from the short-sighted, profit-driven decision making by our elected officials,” said Karsyn Ansari, a recent graduate from the University of Utah Environmental Studies program. “We are here today to fight for our right and the right of future generations to experience redrock wilderness.”

    Student letter PLI press conference

    Students address the media from the steps of the Utah Capitol. Copyright Dave Pacheco/SUWA

    Jared Meek of Brigham Young University said “Many students have been paying attention to the PLI process and to put it lightly we are not pleased with the current proposal.”

    The students expressed deep concern about the ability of their generation (and future generations) to enjoy Utah’s fabled redrock country as it is, and to meet it on its own terms, not on terms set forth by fossil fuel developers favored by Mr. Bishop’s proposal.

    Students vow to continue their campaign against the Public Lands Initiative, and to stay involved in the public process, since Utah political leaders did not give them a voice when the legislation was being drafted. They explained how Mr. Bishop’s process was heavily weighted in favor of rural county commissioners to the exclusion of Utah’s majority population of urban dwellers, themselves included.

    Watch the Fox13 and KSL TV stories and read news coverage in the Logan Herald Journal and Deseret News.

    Add your voice! There’s still time to comment on the draft Public Lands Initiative. If you haven’t yet done so, please click here to submit your comments.

     

  • March 19th, 2015

    This past Tuesday, the off-road vehicle and anti-wilderness crowd turned out in force at a public hearing that the Grand County Council held regarding its recommendations for the Bishop Public Lands Initiative.

    The aim of the boisterous crowd was to intimidate the council into backing down on their recommendations to protect public lands in Grand County.

    Don’t let them succeed. The Grand County Council is accepting public comments on its proposal through next Wednesday, March 25th at council@grandcountyutah.net.

    These comments will be a matter of public record, so even if you’ve written the council before on this matter, we need you to act again.

    Please write a personal email to the council, thanking its members for:

    • The work they’ve done so far to achieve balance.
    • Protecting wilderness in the Book Cliffs and the eastern portion of the county (from Westwater to Beaver Creek), as well as in Mill Creek, Negro Bill, and Behind the Rocks.
    • Stopping the Book Cliffs Highway.
    • Saying “no” to an Antiquities Act exemption in Grand County.
    • Protecting the watershed and Colorado River Corridor with a National Conservation Area.

    But also politely urge them to take the next steps by:

    • Recommending true wilderness in Labyrinth Canyon;
    • Closing 71 miles of Class D routes in the Big Triangle-Beaver Creek proposed wilderness.

    Please email the council today at council@grandcountyutah.net.

    It’s also of critical importance that the public hears from you. Please send a version of your comments as Letters to the Editor at both the Moab Times-Independent and the Moab Sun News:

    editor@moabtimes.com
    editor@moabsunnews.com

    Don’t let a small vocal minority intimidate the council into backing down on protecting our public lands. Please, take action today.

  • March 11th, 2015

    This Monday, March 16th, the Grand County Council in Moab, Utah is going to be putting the finishing touches on its recommendations to Representative Rob Bishop as part of the “Public Lands Initiative” bill.

    What they decide is going to have a direct impact on what Moab is like in the years to come.

    The Grand County Council needs to hear directly from people like you who love and visit Moab. Tell them that Moab — and Labyrinth Canyon in particular — needs true wilderness protection and that quiet places need to be protected now and for future generations.

    Labyrinth_rivermap

     

    Here’s what the Grand County Council should do on Monday:

    • Designate Labyrinth Canyon as true wilderness. At last week’s Council meeting, the Council recommended no wilderness for Labyrinth — despite it being one of the crown jewels of wilderness in the American West. The Council should designate as wilderness all areas it is proposing as “No Surface Occupancy.”
    • Keep the river corridor in Labyrinth quiet by closing three ATV and jeep trails that run down to the river: Hey Joe, Hell Roaring, and “Dead Cow/The Tubes” in addition to Ten Mile Wash. River rafters in Labyrinth shouldn’t have to listen to the whine of motorcycles along the banks of the Green River!
    • Close infrequently used routes in all proposed wilderness in Grand County, especially in the Westwater-Beaver Creek wilderness. The Council has already recommended protecting these areas as wilderness, but they need to close routes within the boundaries. There should be places where locals and visitors can find quiet and get away from roads and the sounds of ATVs!
    • Designate wilderness in the La Sal Mountains. Every other county in the PLI process has recommended new Forest Service Wilderness, but the Grand County Council has recommended zero. The Council should recommended protecting the mountains that form our watershed.
    • Protect the Arches view shed by expanding the proposed National Conservation Area (NCA) 4 miles east of Arches National Park.
    • Designate the Fisher Towers and Mary Jane areas with the proposed NCA to be managed as roadless areas, following the Daggett County model and as already approved by our Congressional delegation.

    Please, take just a moment to email the entire Council at council@grandcountyutah.net.

    The ORV lobby is already bombarding the Council with emails from around the region. The Council needs to hear from visitors like you that they need to create some balance by closing routes and protecting the quiet areas of Moab!

    When it comes to your experience in Grand County and the Moab area, this may be the most important email you ever write. Please, take just a minute to email the council today.

    Thank you for taking action.

  • March 3rd, 2015

    Great thanks to the nearly three hundred people who rallied at the Utah State Capitol yesterday evening! From chants in opposition to the state’s attempt to take public lands out of American hands and put them “on the chopping block”, to a rousing rendition of “This Land is Your Land” with rally applicable lyrics penned by The Slickrock Stranger, the Great Public Lands Gamble Rally was a great success! Conservation groups, sportsmen, educators, elected officials and outdoor business representatives all spoke out against the state of Utah’s ongoing efforts to seize ownership of America’s public lands and turn them into industrial uses for short-term gain.

    Add your voice to theirs by signing our petition to Governor Herbert.

    Land grab rally

    Emcee Dan McCool, Political Science Professor at the University of Utah urged the crowd to pass along a message to Governor Herbert “Governor, we call on you to distance yourself from the few legislators who cooked up this mess. Collaboration is the best way to solve our problems.” Peter Metcalf, CEO of outdoor recreation company Black Diamond Equipment reminded the crowd that “Non-consumptive industries like ours would be adversely impacted and marginalized in favor of heavy development, should the state assume management.” And Heather Bennett, founder of For Kids and Lands said “Our schools are not the place to roll the economic dice.”

    Thanks to everyone who weathered the early springtime blizzard and found a place to park at a crowded Capitol. We couldn’t have done it without you.