ARRWA - Page 3 of 17


  • March 9th, 2021

    This Friday, March 12th, marks the second anniversary of the Emery County Public Land Management Act becoming law as part of the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act. 

    Muddy Creek Wilderness.

    The Emery Act is one of the largest wilderness bills in a decade to become law, protecting 663,000 acres of public land as designated wilderness while also creating the nearly 217,000-acre San Rafael Swell Recreation Area and protecting 63 miles of the Green River under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.


    But as the two-year anniversary of the Act approaches this week, the Utah Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has been haphazard at best in its implementation of protections directed by Congress, and is even advancing a new motorized travel plan for the region that would maximize off-road vehicle abuse despite the Congressional mandate to prioritize conservation in the region. 

    World-class landscapes like Muddy Creek, Labyrinth Canyon, and Desolation Canyon have been designated wilderness for two years now, yet you wouldn’t know it on the ground. 

    Illegal motorized use in these areas has gone largely unchecked, boundary signage is woefully inadequate, and public information is slim. 

    Taken together, the BLM has left public land users guessing about where activities like motorized use is- and is not – appropriate. Among the issues that persist two years since enactment of the Emery Act:

    • The BLM has failed to address illegal off-road vehicle use that continues to occur within designated wilderness areas and the San Rafael Swell Recreation Area. This includes failing to take actions to remediate and rehabilitate areas, including closing illegal trails, installing adequate signage, and providing educational information to the public.
    • The BLM has prioritized actions such as coal leasing, gypsum mining, and helium exploration over proactively managing designated wilderness and the recreation area.
    • The BLM is currently considering designating over a thousand miles of new routes in the heart of the San Rafael Swell. Inventory maps released as part of the BLM’s “scoping” phase of its travel planning process would inundate the Swell with new motorized vehicle routes, forever changing this iconic area from one with diverse recreational opportunities to essentially a motorized playground, directly contravening the Act’s intent of conserving the area for future generations.
    • One month before it was formally designated as wilderness by the Dingell Act, the BLM rushed to issue a lease to drill for helium in the heart of the Labyrinth Canyon Wilderness. SUWA, along with conservation partners, have sued the BLM for failing to take a hard look at the potential climate harms from the fracking project and failing to provide a reasoned basis for offering this land for leasing in the first place. 

    It is our hope that the Biden administration will focus the Utah BLM on conservation management, and in doing so will work to prioritize the implementation of protections established by the Dingell Act. 

    Labyrinth Canyon.

    For more, check out our story map of lands protected in the Emery County Public Land Management Act.

     

  • February 19th, 2021

    In just a few weeks, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) will reintroduce America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act in the 117th Congress! This legislation is the grand vision for protecting Utah’s deserving wilderness and could play a key role in the Biden administration’s goal of protecting 30 percent of American lands and waters by 2030.

    Click here to ask your members of Congress to become original cosponsors today!

    Dirty Devil proposed wilderness, copyright Ray Bloxham/SUWA.

    The bill would protect as wilderness 8.4 million acres of the magnificent redrock landscapes we all love—places with evocative names like Labyrinth Canyon, the Dirty Devil, and the Book Cliffs. It would also advance efforts to combat climate change by keeping fossil fuels in the ground, achieving 5.7 percent of the carbon mitigation needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees by 2030.

    Contact your representatives today and tell them you support America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act!

    The federal public lands the Red Rock bill would protect belong to all Americans and are a treasured common ground for discovery, restoration, and solitude. At a time when all of humanity is being tested by a global pandemic and more frequent natural disasters linked to climate disruption, it’s clear that protecting the wild places we have left is imperative, for nature’s sake and for our own.

    In Utah, we are lucky to have some of the wildest unprotected landscapes in the lower 48 states, and a true opportunity to restore balance.

    Please ask your representatives to become original cosponsors of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act today!

  • February 5th, 2021

    What role can America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act play in achieving the Biden administrations goals of mitigating the climate crisis and protecting 30 percent of America’s lands and waters by 2030? We dive deep into two recent scientific reports that provide an answer.

    Wild Utah is made possible by the contributing members of SUWA. Wild Utah’s theme music, “What’s Worth?” is composed by Moab singer-songwriter Haley Noel Austin. Post studio production and editing is by Jerry Schmidt.

    Listen on your favorite app!

    wildutah.info/Stitcher
    wildutah.info/Apple
    wildutah.info/Spotify

  • October 13th, 2020

    Yesterday was Indigenous Peoples’ Day. We recognized it by sharing the Bears Ears Inter Tribal Coalition’s words. Today, we want to continue the spirit of Indigenous Peoples’ Day with a message about public land. 

    The wild lands of America’s red rock wilderness are ancestral Goshute, Ute, Shoshone, Diné, Paiute, Hopi, and Pueblo territories—this only considers tribes recognized by the federal government. Since the beginning of time, hundreds of thousands of Indigenous peoples have called the mountains, canyons, and valleys of Utah home. We honor our native neighbors and those who were here long before all of us to recognize the following:

    • Public Lands are on stolen lands: in the United States, Thomas Jefferson first employed the Doctrine of Discovery to dispossess Native peoples of their claims to land in order to continue U.S. westward expansion. The Doctrine of Discovery is a religious doctrine of the 1400s that founded the spiritual and legal right for Europeans to literally “take possession” of lands they “discovered [that were] not under the dominion of Christian rulers.” In 1823, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized the Doctrine as legally valid. This historic process is where the concept of “stolen lands” come from. Even though SUWA has been persistent in the permanent protection of red rock wilderness in Utah and fights tooth and nail for the retention of public lands in the public domain, we still must face the facts of this violent time in history.
    • Federal conservation lands were created with the same kind of intention. Organ Pipe, Yosemite, and Yellowstone are just a few examples of beloved conservation lands whose establishment resulted in the displacement of native communities. This is why it’s important to know whose land you stand on, and to support native-lead campaigns to protect people and the planet. The more non-native people can recognize ancestral territories on which they live, work, and play, the better allies we can be in standing for justice for native peoples.

    Our public lands are the perfect subject for healing among all people, healing our connection with the more-than-human world, and respecting our native community members. Yesterday was Indigenous Peoples’ Day, but the work to protect sacred ancestral lands continues every day.