• March 22nd, 2010

    March 2010

    Here’s what is happening this month with the redrock:
    1.  Help protect Utah’s magnificent Arch Canyon from off-road vehicle damage.
    2.  Show us how “wild” you are about Utah!
    3.  Faith communities urge Utah leaders to support wilderness stewardship.
    4.  New redrock bill cosponsors include Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA).
    5.  See a SUWA slideshow this April, including new “dust on snow” presentations in Colorado! 

    Threatened Places: BLM Considering Commercial Jeep Event in Arch Canyon

    Jeep in Arch Canyon
    A jeep plows through Arch Canyon.  Photo copyright Liz Thomas/SUWA.

    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is currently
    considering an application by Jeep Jamboree USA to hold an off-road vehicle (ORV) event in Arch
    Canyon

    at the end of April, during which large groups of Jeeps would be driven
    up and
    down the canyon.  Located in
    southeastern Utah, Arch Canyon is a place of magnificent natural beauty and solitude, and
    is rich in archaeological sites, including rock art and structures, some of them 2,000
    years old.  Although the BLM has not inventoried or recorded the vast majority of
    the archaeological sites in Arch Canyon, the federal agency has allowed ORV use to
    occur in this proposed wilderness area, causing impacts to prehistoric and historic cultural resources.  The free-flowing creek in Arch Canyon is a
    rare desert gem; streams amount to merely 1% of Utah’s public lands yet
    support nearly 80% of Utah’ wildlife. 
    ORVs cross the stream in Arch Canyon 120 times in the round trip up and
    down the canyon, causing significant damage to the streambed and degradation
    of water quality and habitat of sensitive fish species.

    SUWA has filed a lawsuit challenging BLM’s decision to deny our petition
    to protect Arch Canyon from ORV damage.  In the meantime, ORV use continues to
    threaten the resources of Arch Canyon.

    Please
    send an email to the Utah BLM State Director requesting that:

    1)      BLM prohibit ORV use in Arch
    Canyon, and
    2)      BLM deny Jeep’s application
    for a Jeep Jamboree in Arch Canyon in April.

    You
    can send your concerns to:
    Selma
    Sierra, Utah State BLM Director
    Selma_Sierra@blm.gov

     

    Enter SUWA’s “Wild About Utah” Photo Contest! 

     Is your “Protect Wild Utah” button pinned to your backpack?  Have you
    been someplace far from Utah and seen a “Protect Wild Utah” sticker on a
    building, sign or car bumper?  By design, our bright yellow buttons and
    stickers are easy to spot from far away.  Now, you can win a prize for
    displaying your love of Utah’s redrock country and being a good
    photographer.  Just send a photo of yourself or a friend wearing a
    “Protect Wild Utah” button or sticker OR submit a photo of a button or
    sticker in an interesting location (let’s keep it clean, please!).

    For full contest details or to request a button or sticker, be sure to visit the SUWA’s photo contest webpage.

    All contest entries will be posted on SUWA’s Flickr page — add SUWA as one of your Flickr contacts to keep updated on new entries! 

     

     

    Faith and the Land: A Call for Wilderness Stewardship at Utah’s State Capitol

     

    Faith & the Land Event at Utah Capitol
    God isn’t making any more wilderness,” said Reverend Erin
    Gilmore of the Holladay United Church of Christ.  “It’s up to us to
    protect what remains.”

    In an historic event that has the power to shift the
    conversation about wilderness in Utah, members of 11 different faith traditions
    stood together in the rotunda of the State Capitol in February
    and called on
    state lawmakers to recognize the spiritual importance of Utah’s wilderness
    heritage and to support meaningful protection for the state’s remaining wild
    lands.  Reinforcing their call for
    wilderness stewardship was an impressive exhibit of 24 posters featuring over
    250 handwritten personal statements about why Utah’s wild lands matter spiritually.  The posters were created at “Wilderness
    Stewardship” events held last fall and winter within the Roman Catholic,
    Episcopal, Islamic, Jewish, Latter-day Saint, Lutheran, Methodist,
    Presbyterian, Quaker, Unitarian Universalist, and United Church of Christ faith
    communities and one interfaith event.

     

    *New Cosponsor Spotlight* 


    Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA)

    In this, the 111th Congress, we have surpassed the number of House cosponsors for America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act in the 110th Congress!  Those recently signing onto to the bill are Rep. Louise McIntosh Slaughter (D-NY), Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) and Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA).  If you live in any of the above districts, please thank your representative!

    For a full list of cosponsors, click here.  If your members of Congress are not on the list of cosponsors, please ask them to sign onto the bill by clicking here!

     


    Watch Out for a Wild Utah Slideshow this April

    SUWA’s multi-media slideshow presentation, Wild Utah: America’s Redrock Wilderness, will be on the road in April!

    SUWA’s Midwest Field Organizer, Clayton Daughenbaugh, will be presenting in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota this April.  For more information or to schedule a slideshow in the Midwest, email Clayton at clayton@suwa.org

    SUWA’s National Grassroots Organizer, Jackie Feinberg, will be traveling to Virginia and Florida in April.  For more information or to schedule a slideshow along the East Coast, email Jackie at jackie@suwa.org.   

    SUWA’s Western Regional Organizer, Terri Martin, will be showing our new “Redrock Wilderness or Red Dust Melting Colorado Snow?” presentation in Colorado this April.  For more information or to schedule a slideshow in Colorado, email Terri at terri@suwa.org

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    Posted by
  • March 19th, 2010

    Salazar pans "No More Wilderness" Settlement at House
    Appropriations hearing

    Department of Interior
    Secretary Ken Salazar came well prepared to defend his budget choices to
    the House
    subcommittee
    on
    Interior and E
    nvironment yesterday, but one thing going on
    within his department was simply indefensible.
     


    Salazar gave no
    sympathy to the 2003 agreement between former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt
    and
    former Interior Secretary Gale Norton, a series of backroom talks that
    revoked
    the Bureau of Land Management’s authority to protect land
    s that the agency has
    designated as having wilderness character, a routine role of the agency
    since
    1976. Asked by Red Rocks bill sponsor Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) about a
    timeline for resolving the "No
    More Wilderness" Settlement
    , Salazar told the committee it is “something
    that is
    on my mind” and is being worked on within the
    Interior.


     

    “I disagree with the
    Norton/Leavitt Settlement,” Salazar said, “because I don’t think it was
    an
    appropriate way for management to cede authority.”  


    Salazar told the
    committee that the Department of Interior was weighing its options
    for an
    alternative policy, from repealing the "No More Wilderness" Settlement
    outright to
    using other methods to protect the BLM’s wilderness lands. He said a
    decision
    would be ready “in the coming months.”

     

    Bottom line? In keeping
    with the BLM’s responsibility to mix uses on public lands, there must be
    an
    “appropriate level of protection for places with wilderness character,”
    Salazar
    said.

    -Jen Beasley,
    Legislative Advocate, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance

    Posted by
  • March 17th, 2010

    Good Eco-nomics: National monuments add green to local wallets
    "A sure-fire
    way to boost the economy in Western states is to designate a national monument
    or establish a national park, as past performance shows these landscapes
    bolster the surrounding communities with long-lasting jobs and revenue streams
    tied to much, much more than simply tourism." Read more – National Parks Traveler

    Posted by
  • March 16th, 2010

    Utah's unsung natural resource: Hot air
    "Utahns have been up in
    Washington's grill over federal land forever. This year's Legislature
    carried on that work with a silly bill to assert the state's eminent
    domain on federal land unless the property was acquired by the federal
    government with the consent of the Legislature. The Legislature's
    attorneys warned that the bill likely would be struck down in court
    under the property and supremacy clauses of the Constitution. That
    learned counsel did not deter the protesters, who passed HB143 anyway.
    We would hope that Gov. Gary Herbert would veto the bill, if for no
    other reason than it doesn't make sense to squander scarce state
    resources tilting at windmills."
    Read more – Salt Lake Tribune

    Posted by
  • March 15th, 2010

    Former Utah BLM State Director praises needed oil and gas leasing reforms
    "The
    reforms Secretary Salazar has proposed will improve the front end of the
    development of federal oil and gas, avoiding conflicts and protecting land and
    water, while producing the public’s resources. Secretary Salazar and the BLM
    should also make sure we do things right at the end of the development process,
    by ensuring that the bonds for federal oil and gas leases are adequate to
    protect taxpayers and landowners from having to pay for restoration
    costs." Read more – Billings Gazette

    Posted by