Deeda Seed, Author at Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance - Page 2 of 3


  • January 19th, 2011

    Last week, wilderness protection in Utah got a needed boost as National Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director Bob Abbey came to Utah to discuss the new BLM wilderness guidance that has the potential to give needed protection to 6 million acres of wilderness-quality lands across the state.

    In the face of some antagonistic questioning by Utah Governor Gary Herbert and his “Balanced Resources Council,” Director Abbey held firm, saying that the new wilderness guidance is a tool to provide protection to BLM-managed wild lands until Congress acts to officially designate wilderness.

    Over a hundred Utah wilderness supporters showed up to the meeting to thank Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and BLM Director Abbey for their commitment to giving wilderness its rightful place as an equal among the range of other resources BLM must manage and protect — a critical first step towards ensuring the permanent protection of our last remaining wild lands in the West.

    Click on the video below to view clips from a news conference we organized featuring SUWA’s Heidi McIntosh along with Utahns Bryson Garbett, a former Republican legislator and owner of a prominent home building company, and Eve Miller, a new mom and co-founder of Women Protecting Wilderness.


    The new policy also reverses the much-maligned and illegal 2003 back-door agreement between former Utah governor Michael Leavitt and former Interior boss Gale Norton by which Norton renounced the BLM’s authority to manage public lands to protect their wilderness character.

    But, we all know that good policies are only good if they are implemented correctly, so we’re going to be watching implementation of this new wilderness guidance closely, and will urge the BLM to take a robust approach to protection of wild lands under its jurisdiction.

    A big thanks to all of you who love and support Utah’s wild lands! Working together we can continue to ensure that these amazing places remain wild so the generations that come after us can experience them in their natural splendor.

    If you haven’t done so already, please take a moment to thank Secretary Salazar for the new wilderness guidance policy.

  • August 9th, 2010

    On August 3rd the “America’s Great Outdoors Listening Session” came to Salt Lake City. Hundreds of people gathered for the session, held in conjunction with the Outdoor Industry Association’s Summer Market.  Utah wilderness activists were everywhere wearing “Secretary Salazar: Protect Wild Utah” stickers and buttons and vastly outnumbering the small group of off-road vehicle enthusiasts who attended.

    The session began with opening remarks by Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, Council on Environmental Quality Chairwoman Nancy Sutley, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director Bob Abbey, Utah Governor Gary Herbert and Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.  Secretary Salazar and Governor Herbert gave a shout out to SUWA citing our recent work to reach a deal with the Bill Barrett Corporation that allows for natural gas extraction on the Tavaputs plateau, but also protects wild lands from the impact of energy development.


    Secretary Salazar also spoke in positive terms about Utah Senator Bennett’s work with San Juan County Commissioners to develop wilderness legislation.


    Unfortunately, Secretary Salazar doesn’t know that this so-called “process” really now consists of the county commissioners developing a proposal in the “back-room”
    (without input from SUWA and other Utah-based conservation groups) that would potentially provide LESS protection for San Juan County’s public lands and serve to ratify the Bush administration’s terrible land use plans.

    What we didn’t hear from Secretary Salazar and BLM Director Abbey was anything specific with regard to using their authority to protect wilderness character lands – instead BLM Director Abbey talked in generalities about the need to manage lands for wilderness values until Congress makes a decision about wilderness designation.  And like Salazar, Abbey praised Sen. Bennett’s efforts to “work with all stakeholders” even though at present this is unfortunately not the case.


    While it’s great that the high level officials from the Obama administration are taking the time to talk to people about “America’s Great Outdoors” and their rhetoric around this is generally good, we are still waiting for meaningful action.

    Deeda Seed
    SUWA Grassroots Outreach Director

  • July 27th, 2010

    On Tuesday, August 3, from 10:00 AM to 1:15 PM at the Radisson Hotel, 215 West South Temple in Salt Lake City senior leadership from the Obama administration will be present to hear your thoughts about “America’s Great Outdoors.”  This our chance to tell them to take action NOW to protect wild Utah.

    When Ken Salazar took over the reins as Secretary of Interior he proclaimed that there’s a “new sheriff in town.”  That’s what we need in Utah, where destructive and unbalanced policies put in place by the former administration have placed awe-inspiring wilderness treasures at risk — places like the Glen Canyon/San Juan River area, Cedar Mesa and Comb Ridge, where threats from excessive off-road vehicle use, mining and drilling loom large on the horizon.

    In 2003, the State of Utah and the Department of Interior secretly negotiated a deal in which the Interior Department abandoned its duty to identify and protect lands worthy of wilderness designation.  Relying on that back-room deal, in the last days of the Bush administration the BLM issued land use plans for 11 million acres in eastern Utah which included only limited protection for wilderness-quality lands.  Secretary Salazar has the authority to rescind the “no more wilderness” deal and give wilderness-quality lands the protection they deserve. We need him to take action NOW!

    Join us on August 3rd to show Secretary Salazar that Utahns want Utah wilderness protected. Wear a “Secretary Salazar: Protect Wild Utah” button or sticker (we’ll have them on hand for you) and tell the Obama administration to use its power to protect wild Utah before we lose these treasured landscapes!

    For planning purposes the Obama administration is asking people to pre-register by sending an email to americasgreatoutdoorsslc@blm.gov or a fax to (801)-539-4074 with your name, the name of any organization
    you are affiliated with, telephone number, and email address. (Although if you don’t do this you can still show up.)

    What:  America’s Great Outdoors Listening Session – your chance to tell the Obama administration to protect wild Utah

    When:   Tuesday, August 3rd 10:00 am

    Where: Radisson Hotel, 215 West South Temple in Salt Lake City

  • July 22nd, 2010

    You and I know that Utah is home to some of the most beautiful wilderness landscapes in the nation.  Please help ensure that these wild lands are given the protection they deserve.

    When Ken Salazar took over the reins as Secretary of Interior he proclaimed that there’s a “new sheriff in town.”  Frankly, that is exactly what we need in the West and especially in Utah, where destructive and unbalanced policies put in place by the former administration have needlessly placed awe-inspiring wilderness treasures at risk — places like the Glen Canyon/San Juan River area, Cedar Mesa and Comb Ridge, where threats from excessive off-road vehicle use, mining and drilling loom large on the horizon.

    In 2003, the State of Utah and the Department of Interior secretly negotiated a deal in which the Interior Department abandoned its duty to identify and protect lands worthy of wilderness designation.  Relying on that back-room deal, in the last days of the Bush administration the BLM issued land use plans for 11 million acres in eastern Utah which included only limited protection for wilderness-quality lands.  Secretary Salazar has the authority to rescind the “no more wilderness” deal and give wilderness-quality lands the protection they deserve.  He should use it before we lose these treasured landscapes.

    The place is here. The time is now.

    Please send a message to Secretary Salazar asking him to defend Utah’s magnificent natural treasures from off-road vehicle abuse, vandalism to archaeological sites, and the drilling of new oil and gas wells until Congress can protect these landscapes permanently under the Wilderness Act.

  • June 4th, 2010

    It’s an exciting time for Utah wilderness advocates. Wilderness legislation for San Juan County – the heart of some of the most spectacular redrock wilderness – is still in the works. This, despite U.S. Senator Bob Bennett’s (R-UT) loss at the recent Utah Republican convention.

    White Canyon Narrows
    White Canyon Narrows photo copyright James Kay.

    And so we face both opportunity and peril.  The opportunity exists for good legislation that reverses the terrible Bush administration decisions to fragment this landscape with off-road vehicle (ORV) routes. The peril is of course that the legislation developed could instead ratify the Bush plans. It’s our job to see that it doesn’t.

    Examples of lands threatened by the Bush ORV travel plans include Mancos Mesa and the greater White Canyon area, both in the Utah Wilderness Coalition’s proposed Glen Canyon Wilderness, one of the biggest tracts of wild land remaining in southeastern Utah.

    Mancos Mesa is dissected by the 600-foot sheer Wingate Sandstone walls of Moqui Canyon — a deep canyon, magnificent and remote, that offers a cool stream with cottonwoods and willows.  Unfortunately, the Bush plans designated the Moqui Canyon creek bed as well as several dead-end jeep tracks on the mesa top, as official ORV routes.

    The White Canyon proposed wilderness, north of Natural Bridges National Monument, includes 1,000-foot redrock cliffs and well over 100 miles of winding canyons carved into the Cedar Mesa Sandstone, with alcoves, hanging gardens, arches and grottoes. Yet here, too, the Bush plans designated several unnecessary ORV routes, cutting this remarkable wilderness into pieces.

    We face some uncertainty as Senator Bennett has yet to announce the next steps in this process. But we’re excited to work with his office and other interested parties to seize this opportunity. We’ll keep you informed and let you know how you can help as this effort unfolds over the coming months. Sign up here to receive regular updates and learn how you can get involved in protecting Utah’s San Juan-Canyonlands wilderness.