Jen Ujifusa, Author at Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance


  • January 31st, 2022

    Great news! Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) recently sent a letter to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland urging her department to designate new wilderness study areas as part of the Biden administration’s goal of protecting 30 percent of public lands and waters by 2030. That crucial goal simply isn’t possible without the robust participation of the Department of the Interior, which is the nation’s largest land manager. And with the climate and extinction crises wreaking havoc on our world, the time to act is now.

    Joining Sen. Durbin on the letter were six other senators: Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA), Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).

    If any of these senators represent you, please click here to thank them now.

    “Our remote lands are overlooked sometimes in conversations about addressing the climate crisis, but their contributions will be crucial. Public lands not only support complex ecosystems, but also can sequester carbon and make areas more resilient to the impacts of climate change,” the senators wrote in their letter.

    “More than 29 million acres of public lands are in need of protection. For years, DOI has not utilized its ability to protect these lands, leaving places like the Vermillion Basin in Colorado, Granite Range in Nevada, the Bodie Hills in California, Hatch Canyon in Utah, Otero Mesa in New Mexico, and the Owyhee Canyonlands in Oregon without proper protection for their unique resources. Without proper protections, these lands face many threats that could jeopardize wilderness-quality values the Bureau of Land Management stated these lands have.”

    To read the full text of the letter, click here.

    As the senators rightly point out, protecting public lands is one of the key ways we can help mitigate the climate crisis. We are extremely grateful to them for connecting the dots, and for reaching out to the Interior Department with solutions.

    If any of your senators are listed above, please thank them for standing up for wilderness across the West!

    Thank you.

  • December 1st, 2021

    Great news! The Navajo Nation Council has passed a resolution in support of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, a first-of-its-kind endorsement that acknowledges the role protecting public lands can play in combating climate change.

    “Protecting our land is important to the Navajo people and we support this wilderness designation in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act,” said Speaker Seth Damon (Bááhaalí, Chichiltah, Manuelito, Red Rock, Rock Springs, Tséyatoh). “President Biden outlined a robust policy change across the federal government to address climate change. It is imperative that the Navajo Nation work on a global level to address this growing problem that affects our oceans, air, and water.”

    Will you take this moment to stand with the Tribe and ask your members of Congress to cosponsor America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act?

    Comb Ridge. Copyright Tim Peterson, flown by LightHawk

    Sponsored by Senator Dick Durbin and Representative Alan Lowenthal, America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act would designate more than 8 million acres of Bureau of Land Management land as wilderness, the highest form of protection for federal lands. The bill would protect iconic Utah landscapes such as Cedar Mesa, Factory Butte, the Kaiparowits Plateau, and the Greater Canyonlands area.

    As the ancestral home of many Tribes, the region contains abundant and significant cultural resources. Protecting these wild landscapes would also keep a significant amount of fossil fuels in the ground, accounting for 5.7 percent of the carbon mitigation needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

    “Our support for this Congressional bill sends a message that the Navajo Nation is concerned about climate change and the impact on our environment,” said Delegate Herman Daniels, Jr. “Since time immemorial, we have lived in the canyons, mountains, and on the mesas currently managed by the federal government that would be protected and preserved by this Congressional bill. For generations, our Indigenous people across the United States have been the original caretakers of our sacred lands and it will remain so.”

    Please ask your members of Congress to support America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act today. And if any of your representatives are already cosponsors, please click here to thank them.

    SUWA is committed to working with Tribes to help protect the redrock permanently. We are grateful to the Navajo Nation for their efforts to support America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act.

    Add your voice by asking your members of Congress to cosponsor today!

  • June 8th, 2021

    Today, America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA). That means both the House and Senate versions are officially on the books for the 117th Congress and we are ready to roll!

    Please ask your members of Congress to cosponsor America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act today!

    The House bill was reintroduced with 57 original cosponsors already signed on, while the companion bill in the Senate is currently endorsed by 13 senators (click here to see the full cosponsor list). That’s a great start, but we need your help to boost these numbers much higher in the coming weeks by asking your representative and senators to endorse the bill if they haven’t already.

    Lockhart Basin proposed wilderness, copyright Ray Bloxham/SUWA

    America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act is the seminal legislation that would protect 8.4 million acres of wild public lands in Utah. We all know these spectacular landscapes are worthy of permanent protection, but now we also know they play a significant role in addressing climate change by drawing carbon out of the atmosphere, sequestering it in plants and soils, and providing climate refugia for wildlife. These wild desert lands are also a vital link in the interconnected chain of largely undisturbed ecosystems running from the Grand Canyon to Glacier National Park, providing important migration corridors for wildlife.

    Many of you have helped build support for America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act over the years by signing postcards, making phone calls, sending emails, and even traveling to Washington, DC to meet with your elected officials in person. With the Biden administration’s current focus on climate and conserving 30% of land and water in the U.S. by 2030, now is the time to ramp up your advocacy efforts as we work to move this legislation forward!

    Click here to contact your representatives now.

    If you’d like to learn more about the bill—or simply celebrate its reintroduction with us—please join our short and sweet webinar this Wednesday, June 9th, from 6:00pm–6:30pm MT. SUWA’s Organizing and Legislative teams will briefly discuss the origins of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act and what we can do to garner widespread support in Congress. Please RSVP HERE or join us on Facebook Live.

    Thanks for all you do!

  • May 11th, 2021

    Yesterday, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) reintroduced America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act (S. 1535), the seminal legislation that would protect 8.4 million acres of wild public lands in Utah. This bill is more important than ever as we face the Climate Crisis and the Nature Crisis, as its passage would keep fossil fuels in the ground, preserve habitat connectivity and resiliency, and allow Utah’s desert lands to continue to sequester carbon—all while protecting the scenic and cultural resources contained on these lands for generations to come.

    Please ask your senators to join as a cosponsor of the Redrock Bill today!

    Signed on to the legislation as original cosponsors at introduction were Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ).

    If you are represented by any of these senators, please thank them for cosponsoring today!

    Circle Cliffs. Copyright James Kay

    “With the America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, we can protect America’s remaining wild places and reaffirm our nation’s commitment to the preservation of our national heritage,” said Senator Durbin. “Our public lands are under increasing pressure, both from development encroachment and from attacks by those who would prefer to see them sold off to the highest bidder. Congress needs to act to ensure that these lands remain in their natural condition for current and future generations of Americans to enjoy.”

    America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act was developed through citizen inventories that identified wilderness-quality Bureau of Land Management lands in Utah using the same criteria set forth by the agency. Utah lags all other Western states in wilderness designation, despite having some of the wildest roadless landscapes in the lower 48 states.

    Please ask your senators to cosponsor the legislation by clicking here. And if either (or both) of your senators already cosponsored, please thank them by clicking here.

  • September 10th, 2020

    After a long August recess, Congress is back in session for September. This is one of the best chances to get your members of Congress to cosponsor America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act. Will you ask them today?

    America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act is the seminal legislation that would protect the amazing redrock country we all love. It would safeguard places like Desolation Canyon, the Dirty Devil region, and the east side of Labyrinth Canyon, as well as lands wrongly cleaved from Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments by President Trump.

    Please ask your members of Congress to cosponsor today!

    Protecting these lands as wilderness will help us in the fight against climate change, build connected habitat corridors for wildlife, and preserve places for Americans to enjoy quiet and solitude for generations to come. Utah has less protected wilderness than any other western state. As we work toward the goal of protecting 30 percent of America’s lands and waters by 2030, Utah must be a large part of the discussion.

    Ask your members of Congress to cosponsor America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act today!

    And if any of them have already cosponsored (check here), please thank them.

    Members of Congress will soon depart again to embark on the campaign trail in October, so September is the key time to get their endorsement. If you want to go the extra mile, after asking them to cosponsor via our action page, call the congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask them by phone. They might ask for the bill number, which in the House is H.R. 5775, and in the Senate is S. 3056.

    Thank you!