Blog Archives


  • October 10th, 2019

    From Arches, Canyonlands, Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Capitol Reef national parks to Dinosaur, Hovenweep, Natural Bridges, and Cedar Breaks national monuments, Utah is home to some of the most spectacular and beloved jewels of the National Park System. But these world-renowned landscapes are now threatened by a shortsighted directive from the Trump administration to open all park roads (both paved and unpaved) to off-road vehicles, including ATVs and UTVs.

    As the term “off-road vehicle” clearly implies, these machines are designed specifically to travel off-road and beyond the reach of standard passenger vehicles into rugged backcountry terrain. Even on Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands, where such vehicles already have tens of thousands of routes open to their use, managing illegal off-road use is a nightmare for agency officials.

    The National Park Service, which is dedicated to “conserving unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System,” is ill-equipped to handle the problems that will inevitably arise.

    Click here to oppose the terrible precedent of allowing off-road vehicles in Utah’s cherished national parks.

    The Trump administration wants to open all National Park Service roads in Utah to off-road vehicles, including UTVs like the ones pictured above. Photo: iStock.com/marekuliasz

    If the Trump administration has its way, natural and cultural resources will be put at risk from irresponsible and illegal off-road vehicle use on park roads, and the silence and unspoiled views in places like the White Rim and Maze District of Canyonlands National Park and Cathedral Valley in Capitol Reef National Park will be broken by the invasive engine noise and dust clouds generated by these incompatible machines.

    If that’s not bad enough, the administration is attempting to force off-road vehicle use into Utah’s national parks and national monuments with no analysis of impacts and no public input. This is remarkable given the Park Service’s prior determination that off-road vehicles pose “a significant risk to park resources and values which cannot be appropriately mitigated,” and their use is “not consistent with the protection of the parks and monuments.” The agency even acknowledged that “[n]o reasonable level of law enforcement presence would be sufficient to prevent . . . use off roads.”

    Take Action: Please write the Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks and tell him not to make this reckless decision that could irreversibly damage some of America’s most remarkable national parks and monuments.

  • October 3rd, 2019

    SUWA Wildlands Attorney Kya Marienfeld speaks with Dave Pacheco about about the Trump administration’s new master management plans for what remains of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, as well as the nearly one million acres that President Trump excised from the 23 year-old monument. These plans authorize rampant chaining of pinyon and juniper forests and unbridled energy development, and set the stage for a free-for-all of off-road vehicle abuse.

    Wild Utah is produced by Jerry Schmidt and is made possible by the contributing members of SUWA. Our theme music, “What’s Worth?” was written and performed in Moab by Haley Noel Austin. 

     

  • October 1st, 2019

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact: Stephen Bloch, Legal Director, (801)-859-1552 or steve@suwa.org

    Salt Lake City, UT (October 1, 2019) – In response to Judge Chutkan’s decision allowing lawsuits to proceed against President Trump’s reductions of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, SUWA legal director Stephen Bloch issued the following statement:

    “The day of reckoning for President Trump’s unlawful attack on the Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears national monuments drew closer when Judge Chutkan issued her decision denying the United States’ motions to dismiss these cases.  We intend to pursue these cases until these remarkable cultural, scientific and wild redrock landscapes are restored to their full glory.”

  • September 24th, 2019

    Immediate Opening for a Legislative Advocate in Our Washington, DC Office

    The Legislative Advocate works closely with the Legislative Director and Executive Director to advance SUWA’s goal of protecting Utah wilderness, working from Washington, D.C. This person plays a critical role in the success of SUWA’s congressional and administrative efforts. The Legislative Advocate will regularly lobby Congress, the Department of Interior and the Bureau of Land Management; analyze legislation and public lands policy; develop educational materials for Congress, government officials and the public; and coordinate with SUWA staff in Utah and other wilderness advocacy organizations.

    This is an entry-level advocacy position. A competitive benefits package includes health care and dental coverage, a retirement plan, parental leave, and paid vacation and sick days. Opportunities for travel and additional training are available.

    Please send resume, cover letter, and writing sample (1-3 pages) to Jen Ujifusa at jen@suwa.org. Position open until filled. NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE.

    Qualifications:

    Applicant must possess a bachelor’s degree, the ability to communicate with diverse audiences, and the ability to work in teams. We are also looking for someone who is self-motivated and committed to securing wilderness protection for qualifying public lands in Utah. Enthusiasm for environmental or wilderness issues a must. Experience with the legislative process and Congress is preferred, but not required. SUWA is committed to strengthening our organization through the contributions of passionate people with a diversity of backgrounds and life experiences.

    Responsibilities:

    Assist Legislative Director in daily tasks while implementing SUWA’s broader legislative strategies

    • Lobby members of the House of Representatives and Senate to gather cosponsors for Utah wilderness legislation and defend against harmful legislation.
    • Work to achieve proper interim administrative protections for lands included in Utah Wilderness Coalition’s wilderness proposal in order to ensure their wilderness suitability for eventual designation.
    • Help organize activist trainings and lobby days in Washington, one or two times per year, working with SUWA grassroots staff.
    • Coordinate with SUWA staff on wilderness legislation, public land reform measures, and relevant administrative actions to achieve the goals of the organization.
    • Coordinate with other wilderness advocacy and environmental groups in Washington to elevate the Utah wilderness issue nationally and defend against administrative or legislative action harmful to Utah’s wild lands.
    • Prepare and deliver materials to Congress and the Bureau of Land Management
    • Help with office administrative tasks
    • Assist with hiring and managing the Policy Intern

    About the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance:

    The mission of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance is 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 the 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.