• September 20th, 2022

    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is accepting comments on a draft travel management plan for the iconic Labyrinth Canyon and Gemini Bridges area outside of Moab. The plan will determine where off-road vehicle (ORV) use is allowed in this remarkable landscape for decades to come, so public input is extremely important.

    Home to irreplaceable cultural and historic resources, critical wildlife habitat, and unmatched quiet recreational opportunities, the Labyrinth Canyon and Gemini Bridges region is a magnificent area of Utah’s backcountry. The BLM’s travel plan will have a long-lasting impact on the future of this region by determining where ORVs will be able to travel and what areas will be managed for the protection of wildlife, solitude, cultural values, and non-motorized recreation.

    Click here to tell the BLM to keep motorized trails out of Labyrinth Canyon!

    Kayaker on the Green River in Labyrinth Canyon. © James Kay

    Labyrinth Canyon is a gem of the American West, where the placid Green River flows for more than 40 miles past towering canyon walls. This stretch of river provides an unparalleled multi-day wilderness experience for boaters of all ages and experience levels. It is also a designated Wild and Scenic River, noted for its outstanding recreational, scenic, ecological, and cultural values.

    Thanks to the previous efforts of SUWA supporters like you, the west side of Labyrinth Canyon is already protected as congressionally-designated wilderness. But the eastern side of the river is not yet similarly protected—meaning that the solitude and serenity of Labyrinth Canyon can be shattered in an instant by ORVs tearing up and down the river bank.

    Tell the BLM to keep motorized trails out of Labyrinth Canyon’s river corridor, wildlife habitat, cultural sites, and other sensitive or inappropriate areas.

    Currently, the Labyrinth Canyon and Gemini Bridges area is blanketed with over 1,200 miles of ORV routes. More than 94% of the land within the Labyrinth Canyon and Gemini Bridges area is within a half mile of a designated ORV route and less than 0.5% of the land is more than a mile from a designated route. This route density means there are few places to escape the whine of motorized vehicles—even when floating in Labyrinth Canyon.

    The BLM has released four alternatives for the future of Labyrinth Canyon and Gemini Bridges. It is vital that the BLM hear overwhelming public support for Alternative B. Alternative B would finally protect the entire Labyrinth Canyon river corridor while reducing route density in spectacular areas like Gold Bar Rim, Deadman Point, Day Canyon, and Ten Mile Point.

    Alternative B is the only option that protects Labyrinth Canyon and balances motorized recreation with the protection of natural and cultural resources and non-motorized recreation.

    Tell the BLM to keep motorized trails out of the Labyrinth Canyon river corridor and other sensitive or inappropriate areas in the Labyrinth Canyon and Gemini Bridges region.

    The most helpful comments discuss specific trails (identified by name or number); how you enjoy hiking, camping and other non-motorized pursuits in the area; and how motorized use in these places has conflicted with your particular use or enjoyment.

    The BLM is accepting comments through October 7, 2022. Be sure to make your voice heard.

    Do you know Labyrinth Canyon especially well?
    Comments that draw from first-hand knowledge and experiences on the river are the most effective. If you have a personal affinity for Labyrinth Canyon and know the area well, you may want to submit your comments directly through the BLM comment portal. Send an email to issues-action@suwa.org and we’ll be happy to help guide you through the process.

  • September 14th, 2022

    What’s “GSENM RMP”, anyway? It’s shorthand for the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Resource Management Plan. Originally proclaimed by President Clinton in 1996, the almost two million acre monument was slashed in half under former President Trump in 2017. It’s been close to a year since President Biden restored the monument to its original boundaries, and it’s time for his administration to re-write the Trump-era plan and re-emphasize scientific discovery and conservation as the primary purpose of the monument. That also means that it’s time for you to get involved!

    Our guest is SUWA Wildlands Attorney Kya Marienfeld, who is heading up SUWA’s official comments about Grand Stairacse-Escalante to the BLM. In non-legal terms, she explains the process for monument planning and helps us understand how to effectively engage in making the final plan a guiding document we can all be proud of.

    Take action after this episode!

    Have a Say in the Future of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument!

    Leave your public comment to the Bureau of Land Management by 9/27.

     

    Thank you to our show supporters!

    Wild Utah is made possible by the contributing members of SUWA. Thank you for your support!

    Become a SUWA member today and support the Wild Utah Podcast

     

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    Theme music is by Haley Noel Austin, with interlude music by Larry Pattis.
    Dave Pacheco is the host of Wild Utah.
    Post studio production and editing is by Laura Borichevsky.

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  • September 12th, 2022

    With Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument now restored to its original boundaries, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is beginning the process of developing a new management plan for this world-renowned landscape.

    This is a once-in-a generation opportunity to ensure that the monument is managed for its unique and extraordinary values, as the plans won’t be revised again for decades. That’s why it’s so important that people like you, who know and love Utah’s wild lands, take time to participate in the planning process.

    The BLM is currently accepting comments as part of the scoping process. This is your chance to tell the BLM what issues are important for them to consider as they develop a draft management plan.

    Click here to tell the BLM to prioritize wilderness and other conservation values in the new management plan for Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

    Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Photo copyright Jack Dykinga

    Grand Staircase-Escalante has rightfully claimed its place as one of the crown jewels of our nation’s public lands. It was the first monument managed by the BLM to specifically prioritize conservation of cultural, ecological, and scientific values, and it is now world-renowned for its remarkable paleontological discoveries, stunning scenery, and outstanding intact and diverse natural ecosystems.

    With this new management plan, the BLM has the opportunity to strengthen the protections at Grand Staircase-Escalante for generations to come. The BLM should:

    • Protect lands that qualify as wilderness by designating them as new wilderness study areas.
    • Prohibit mechanical treatments of sagebrush, pinyon pine, juniper, and other vegetation, and only use native species for restoration and post-fire seeding.
    • Return to using “management zones” for future recreation planning as it did in the original management plan for the monument, and focus any growth and expansion of recreation in frontcountry areas while protecting and minimizing development of less-used backcountry areas.
    • Close motorized routes that are harming monument objects, without adding new routes and while maintaining route closures and restrictions from the monument’s original management plan.
    • Ensure that Tribal Nations are proactively involved in the planning processes and resource management decisions while protecting cultural resources and traditional uses.
    • Protect visual resources, night skies, and natural and quiet soundscapes.

    (Click here for an expanded list of talking points)

    Personalized comments carry the greatest weight, so we encourage you to take a moment to tell the BLM what is important to you.

    Take action today to help protect Grand Staircase for generations to come.

    Comments are due September 27th. Thank you for everything you do to help protect the redrock!

  • September 12th, 2022

    Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) is hiring a full-time Latino Community  Organizer in Salt Lake City. Interested applicants should email a cover letter (one page),  resume, a writing sample (original work; a 2nd in Spanish is helpful), and 3 references to  Clayton Daughenbaugh at clayton@suwa.org. Please include the words “Latino Community Organizer” and your name in the subject line. The deadline for submission is  October 30th.

    Reports to: Organizing Director

    Job Description Summary:

    The Latino Community Organizer recruits and supports volunteer activists and leaders interested in protecting Utah’s redrock wilderness.

    Working with the organizing team, the organizer is a flexible team player who will plan  and implement organizing activities in Utah building from and growing the base  established on the Wasatch Front, and develop and maintain a grassroots and grass tops network of Latino community supporters across the state. This network is  additionally intended to be influential with and form a base line for support of Latinx  leaders to act across the region and the nation focusing on the protection of wild places  and the role they play in mitigating the climate and extinction crises.

    Qualifications: 

    • Passion for public lands protection.
    • Understanding of power dynamics impacting wild lands protection campaigns.
    • Excellent listening and verbal/writing/public speaking communication skills.
    • Self-motivated; able to work in a team and independently.
    • Ability to build and maintain relationships and develop volunteer leadership skills.
    • Commitment to and ability to communicate the need for protecting wilderness landscapes within the context of climate change and cultural significance.
    • Must be skilled/comfortable with Microsoft, Zoom, Google Docs and social media.
    • Willingness to travel and work flexible hours.
    • Previous organizing experience preferred.
    • Spanish language proficiency, written and verbal, preferred.
    • Familiarity with Latino communities preferred.
    • A four-year college degree is helpful but not required.

    Responsibilities Include:

    • Build, grow, and sustain a network of volunteer leaders and activists working together to support identified wild land protections.
    • Identify, organize and manage SUWA’s Utah Silvestre campaign and Latinos for Utah Wilderness online and in-person meetups
    • Identify events, venues and activities where SUWA can interact, educate and engage members of Utah’s Latino communities.
    • Identify key traditional and social media visibility opportunities for Utah’s Latino communities on SUWA’s issues and follow through with supporters through placement of Letters to the Editor, Opinion commentaries, and other writing.
    • Build relationships with representatives of organizations and institutions within the Latino communities.
    • Help identify strategic opportunities for collaboration on issues of concern to the Latino communities that are within the general reach of SUWA’s mission.
    • Network with national and regional organizations and other organizers supporting Latinx engagement in public lands conservation especially on the  Colorado Plateau.
    • Develop and produce educational materials and articles; bilingual materials as needed.
    • Other responsibilities as assigned by the Executive and Organizing Directors.

    This position will start at $40,000 per year depending on experience; with paid health  insurance; a 3.5% contribution to a 403b plan; 14 paid holidays; 3 weeks of vacation to  start; and other benefits. (Benefits begin after a 60-day probation period.)

    Currently the position is a blending of in-office and at-home work time. Circumstances  permitting, SUWA supports the collegiality of working together in a common location.


    SUWA is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the outstanding wilderness at the heart of the Colorado Plateau, and the management of these lands in their natural state for the benefit of all Americans. SUWA promotes local and national recognition of the region’s unique character through research and public education; supports both administrative and legislative initiatives to permanently protect Colorado Plateau wild places within the National Park and National Wilderness Preservation Systems, or by other protective designations where appropriate; builds support for such initiatives on both the local and national level; and provides leadership within the conservation movement through uncompromising advocacy for wilderness preservation. The lands we work to protect are the ancestral homelands of many Tribes. We are committed to expanding present-day collaboration with our Tribal neighbors.

    SUWA is committed to workplace diversity and inclusion. SUWA is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law.

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