Redrock Report Archives - Page 12 of 14


  • February 25th, 2011

    February 2011

    Here’s what is happening this month with the redrock:
    1.  Help defend key tools for protecting wild places.
    2.  Host a 127 Hours house party & educate your friends about Utah wilderness!
    3.  Have you been to the Greater Canyonlands Region?  We’re looking for photos.
    4.  See our “Wild Utah” presentation this March!

    Some key tools safe (for now), but wild lands protections still need your help!

    Last week, over 2500 redrock activists and thousands of others across the country contacted their representatives to vote NO on the House Continuing Resolution for Appropriations bill and proposed amendments that would be devastating for public lands protection.  On a long list of bad environmental provisions in the bill, the worst for the redrock was language that would block the Bureau of Land Management’s “Wild Lands” policy – before it had even been finalized!  Unfortunately, there was little to be done about this provision since it was included in the original bill text.  However, the other two major threats to the redrock either failed or were withdrawn, thanks in part to your activism!

    One amendment, offered by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) and eventually withdrawn, would have defunded the National Landscape Conservation System – the department within the BLM that administers national monuments, wilderness study areas and other important conservation lands.  This would have effectively closed those places to the public since all funding for staff and management would cease.

    Reps. Dean Heller (R-NV) and Raul Labrador (R-ID) offered another terrible amendment to block the use of the Antiquities Act (the bill that allowed past presidents to protect such places as Arches, Zion, and Bryce) – and fortunately this one failed on a narrow 213-209 vote.  This is a major victory for our public lands on an otherwise environmentally destructive bill.  Click here to see how your representative voted and then thank him/her if your rep. voted NO.

    As we move forward next week, we’re likely to see some more action on the “Wild Lands” policy as the House Committee on Natural Resources makes it the topic of its first oversight hearing.  We’re expecting Chairmen Doc Hastings (R-WA) and Bishop to stack the decks against supporters of the policy, so we will need your help!

    HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO:

    1. If your rep. voted against the bad Antiquities Act amendment, please thank him/her!

    2. Watch the “Wild Lands” policy hearing LIVE next Tuesday, March 1, at 2pm and comment about why it is important to protect wild places via Facebook.  You can do both at the same time on the Natural Resources Committee’s webpage!

    3. Tell the Natural Resources Committee to stop their attacks on the “Wild Lands” policy using Twitter.

    Host a 127 Hours House Party to spread the word about Utah wilderness

    127 Hours PosterIt’s not every day that an Oscar-nominated film features the redrock canyons of southern Utah.  127 Hours does just that in its portrayal of Aron Ralston’s now famous story of getting trapped while hiking in Blue John Canyon.  If you haven’t seen the film yet, or want to watch it again, the DVD release this March is a perfect opportunity to spread the word about protecting Utah wilderness.  One of the extra features on the DVD profiles Aron’s volunteer work with SUWA and the Utah Wilderness Coalition in helping to gain support for redrock protection (work that we greatly appreciate!).

    What you can do: If you host a house party to watch 127 Hours, SUWA’s grassroots team will provide you with informational materials about the Utah wilderness campaign to share with friends, as well as postcards that you and your friends can sign and mail to key decision makers.  Please email our Outreach Director Deeda Seed at deeda@suwa.org if you are interested.  Everyone who participates will be put in a drawing for a signed version of Aron’s book, Between a Rock and a Hard Place!

    Calling all photographers and budding photographers!

    The Greater Canyonlands region is one of the most spectacular and wildest sections of redrock canyon country.  If you’ve visited the area and have photos you are willing to share, we would love to incorporate them in an upcoming campaign.  We are looking for both landscape shots and photos of people enjoying the wilderness from either professional photographers or those of you who wish to share some images of your travels with other redrock activists.  Specifically, we are looking for photos of areas outside of and surrounding Canyonlands National Park, including places such as Upper Horseshoe Canyon, Sweetwater Reef, San Rafael River, Flat Tops, Horsetheif Point, Hatch Canyon, Lockhart Basin, Harts Point, Dead Horse Cliffs, Indian Creek, Bridger Jack Mesa, Demon’s Playground, Butler Wash, Dark Canyon, Fortknocker Canyon, and Shay Mountain.

    Please send all photo submissions to Diane Kelly at photographs@suwa.org.  Sending us your photo will indicate that you give SUWA permission to post the photo on our website and our social media networks.  All photos will be properly cited when posted publicly.

    See our “Wild Utah” presentation this March!

    This March, see our “Wild Utah: America’s Redrock Wilderness” multimedia presentation in Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.  See the full winter/spring schedule on our website.

    To host a slideshow or to recommend a hosting organization or venue, please contact:

    In the East: Jackie Feinberg, jackie@suwa.org

    In the Midwest: Clayton Daughenbaugh, clayton@suwa.org

    In the West: Terri Martin, terri@suwa.org

    TAKE ACTION: Sign the petition to protect America’s Redrock Wilderness

  • January 28th, 2011

    January 2011

    Here’s what is happening this month with the redrock:
    1.  Tell the BLM to not legitimize an illegal ORV trail in Recapture Canyon.
    2.  Protecting wild lands is widely praised.
    3.  Members of Congress defend the “Wild Lands” policy.
    4.  Court decision issued for Monument R.S.2477 dispute.
    5.  See a “Wild Utah” presentation in the Midwest this February.
    6.  Get a tax break for donating from your IRA.


    Tell the BLM to protect Recapture Canyon

    Recapture Canyon’s cool, flowing stream provides year-round water, lush vegetation, and a haven for wildlife.  This idyllic setting was likely the reason that nearly 2,000 years ago, Ancestral Puebloans begin inhabiting Recapture Canyon.  These agrarian communities thrived in Recapture for more than 1,000 years.  Remarkable remnants of their culture have been preserved through the years along the stream banks and benches in this quiet canyon in southeastern Utah.  The silence was broken in 2005, when a 20-mile illegal off-road vehicle (ORV) trail was constructed in Recapture, damaging several of these ancient sites, and increasing the potential for future damages.

    An ancient structural site in Recapture Canyon.  Photo © Liz Thomas/SUWA.

    Last week, a Federal Magistrate levied fines, totaling $35,000 on two Blanding men who were charged with damaging federal property when they illegally constructed the ORV trail.  After conducting the investigation, filing charges and ultimately prevailing in the criminal case, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will surely keep the illegal trail closed to ORV use, right?   Well . . . not if San Juan County, UT gets its way.

    Please tell the BLM to do the right thing and maintain the existing closure order to protect the irreplaceable cultural artifacts in Recapture Canyon by either sending an email to Utah BLM Director Juan Palma using our action center, or by writing to him at:

    Juan Palma, State Director
    BLM, Utah State Office
    P.O. Box 45155
    Salt Lake City, UT 84145

    Diverse constituencies praise Secretary Salazar’s “Wild Lands” policy…

    At the end of 2010, Interior Secretary restored the BLM’s authority to protect wilderness-quality lands, and many people have had a lot to say about it.  Although anti-wilderness groups and some western lawmakers have criticized and spread misconceptions about the new “Wild Lands” policy, diverse constituencies have praised Secretary Salazar and defended the policy as simply restoring an authority that existed prior to 2003.  Major newspapers, including The Salt Lake Tribune, the New York Times, and the Denver Post, editorialized in support of Salazar’s move.  Peter Metcalf (CEO of Black Diamond Equipment, Ltd.) and SUWA’s own Heidi McIntosh were among many who stood up for protecting wild lands in Utah and throughout the West.  Posts on a Republican blog, on the New West website, and by SUWA board member Tom Kenworthy also supported the new policy.  Utah wilderness activists throughout the country wrote letters-to-the-editor in support of the policy, including residents of Vernal, UT.

    For a full round up of all the news on this issue and other redrock related stories, check out the Utah Wilderness News posts on our blog.

    …including members of Congress!

    Last week, 47 members of Congress, led by House Natural Resources Ranking Member Ed Markey (D-MA), sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar commending him for restoring the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) authority to protect wilderness-quality landscapes throughout the West. In the letter, these Representatives also spoke out against criticism of Salazar’s “Wild Lands” policy, saying “Such criticism is based on a misunderstanding of the Order and a misunderstanding of wilderness.”

    To see if your Representative joined Rep. Markey in defense of wilderness, click here to view a list of signers.

    If you live in Rep. Markey’s district (Massachusetts District 7), please thank him for his leadership.

    Now the BLM must step up to the plate & protect Grand Staircase

    On January 11, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit issued an opinion in a case brought by SUWA and The Wilderness Society that challenged Kane County’s attempt to undermine federal land management of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.  In a fairly technical ruling, the court held that conservationists were simply not the right parties to bring the suit because the interests they sought to protect, in the court’s view, belonged to the federal Bureau of Land Management, which manages the Monument.

    According to Heidi McIntosh, co-counsel on the case, “the court’s ruling does not in any way validate the County’s decision to take the law into its own hands by removing BLM’s ORV closure signs on federal lands, nor did it rule that any of the county’s R.S. 2477 road claims were valid.  In fact, the routes at the core of the issue are primitive and remote, with little if any use.  They do not go to schools, grocery stores or other public destinations, as some have argued. And in the end, not much has changed for the county as a result of this ruling.”

    Read the full press release on our blog.

    See our “Wild Utah” presentation this February!

    This February, see our “Wild Utah: America’s Redrock Wilderness” multimedia presentation in Illinois, Michigan, and Minnesota.  See the full winter/spring schedule on our website.

    To host a slideshow or to recommend a hosting organization or venue, please contact:

    In the East: Jackie Feinberg, jackie@suwa.org

    In the Midwest: Clayton Daughenbaugh, clayton@suwa.org

    In the West: Terri Martin, terri@suwa.org

    A tax break for protecting wild Utah

    Redrock supporters over 70.5 years old have an opportunity to make charitable gifts to SUWA from an Individual Retirement Account, and it won’t count as taxable income.  This opportunity expires January 31, 2011, so contact your IRA custodian before then.  Please consider this unique opportunity to support the fight to protect our wild heritage.  Thank you for your ongoing support!

    Questions? Please contact Scott Braden, Associate Director, at (801) 428-3970 or email at braden@suwa.org.

  • December 22nd, 2010

    Here’s what is happening this month with the redrock:
    1.  Ask the BLM to protect wilderness-quality lands in Utah’s West Desert!
    2.  Help us thank departing redrock champion Sen. Russ Feingold.
    3.  The Santa Fe New Mexican is the latest paper to call for an end to “No More Wilderness.”
    4.  Get your new SUWA retro t-shirts while they last!


    Get engaged in the Cedar City planning process

    The far-flung lands west of Cedar City are some of the least traveled and most remote our spectacular state has to offer.  In the southern portion of Utah’s West Desert, this unique basin and range environment is defined by a series of north-south trending mountain ranges with abrupt front slopes and more gentle back slopes that rise out of arid basins to form one of the most diverse ecosystems in Utah.  One of the most noticeable attributes of these lands is the general absence of development and the “you can see forever” views across the islands of mountains and playas.

    San Francisco Mtns

    The San Francisco Mountains—a prime example of the wildness and solitude offered by the Basin and Range topography of the BLM’s Cedar City planning area.  Photo © Ray Bloxham/SUWA.

    BLM’s Cedar City field office is beginning a planning process for a new Resource Management Plan, or RMP.  The RMP is a tremendously important document that will dictate how BLM manages the region’s public lands, resources, and activities for the next 15 to 20 years.  Decisions made in the RMP will include: identification and management of potential wilderness areas, wildlife habitat areas, Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, and Wild and Scenic river segments; designation of off-road vehicle trails and use areas; identification of areas for oil, gas, other minerals, and renewable energy development; and identification of areas where deforestation and livestock grazing can occur.  BLM must consider the effects of its planning decisions on climate change, air quality, water quality and all the other public land resources.

    The Cedar City planning process offers unique challenges and opportunities for BLM.  For example, the area holds promise for all three of the major renewable energy sources—wind, solar, and geothermal—yet also has pristine wild lands worthy of protection.  The Cedar City region also faces intense threats from increasing and dispersed off-road vehicle recreation.  BLM must create a long-term plan that effectively and responsibly manages recreational activities, energy development and other uses, while preserving the lands worthy of wilderness protection, including the Paradise Mountains, Steamboat Mountain, the Wah Wah Mountains, the Mineral Mountains, and the Mountain Home Range.

    Please help BLM craft a strong RMP that protects these special areas by submitting your comments by December 27th.

    Help us thank a true Redrock champion

    It is with great sadness that we bid farewell to one of the Redrock’s greatest champions, Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI).  Russ, as his colleagues refer to him, lost his race for a fourth term in the anti-Washington frenzy of the recent election.  Ironically, Russ is about as independent as they come in the Senate…but that’s a hard point to make in today’s electoral climate.

    RDF with book2 Hailing from the same state as legendary environmental figures Aldo Leopold and Gaylord Nelson, promoting environmental issues seems a natural fit for Russ.  His involvement in federal wilderness issues began soon after a trip to southern Utah in 1999, when he founded the Senate Wilderness Caucus.  Through the caucus, Russ hoped to educate other Senators who might not know the important role Congress plays in the protection of our special places – a formidable goal for the Senate.

    Throughout his tenure in the Senate, Russ’ unwavering support for America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act was manifested through actions taken to defend the land and gain protections – including playing an important role in the improvement of the Washington County bill that passed early last year.

    We bid Russ a fond farewell and wish him the best in his future endeavors – which we hope might include protecting wilderness.

    Please take a moment to write a short thank you note to Russ. Please email your notes to jackie@suwa.org and our DC staff will print them out and hand deliver them to his office before the end of this Congress.

    Another Intermountain West paper speaks out against “No More Wilderness”

    At the end of November, the Santa Fe New Mexican joined two other Intermountain West newspapers, The Salt Lake Tribune and the Denver Post, in recently calling on Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to end the Bush-era “No More Wilderness” policy.

    The secretary appears to be twiddling his thumbs while the worst of policies from Bush and from Salazar’s predecessor Gale Norton rolls merrily along,” says this most recent editorial, adding that Salazar “must clarify Interior Department policy to say, loud and clear, that whatever deal was cut with Utah is not — repeat not — department policy.”

    You can speak out against the “No More Wilderness” policy too — just send a message to Secretary Salazar and the Obama administration asking that they reject this egregious policy and begin protecting wilderness-quality lands once again.

    Get your SUWA retro t-shirt while supplies last!

    Looking ahead to the spring and warmer weather?  Our new SUWA retro t-shirts are the perfect addition to any redrock wilderness fan’s wardrobe.  Men’s styles are available in either white/blue or tan/black, while the women’s version is a fitted white/black tee.  All styles cost $20 each.  Quantities are limited, so get yours while they are still in stock!


  • November 19th, 2010

    November 2010

    Here’s what is happening this month with the redrock:
    1.  Our new media campaign is up and running!
    2.  Western newspapers editorialize against the “No More Wilderness” policy.
    3.  Go into the field with Brooke and Terry Tempest Williams.
    4.  Help protect Arch Canyon!


    SUWA is On the Air in Utah

    [object Object]Last week’s launch of our sustained, multi-year media campaign here in Utah is off to a strong start.

    Relying heavily on broadcast and cable television spots, online ads throughout Utah, and outdoor advertising in the Salt Lake City metro area, the campaign is designed to capitalize upon a growing shift in public opinion about wilderness, and to further educate Utah residents about wilderness as a valuable part of our state’s heritage.

    The ads, which can be seen on the morning, midday, evening and late night newscasts on every channel in Utah (as well as multiple cable channels and online), are already having an impact. In less than two weeks, over 1500 people have signed up on Facebook in support of Utah wilderness, and contributions in support of the media campaign have come in from across the country from people like you.

    To learn more about the media campaign and to see the first three television ads airing now throughout Utah, visit UtahWilderness.org.

    Western Newspapers call for an end to “No More Wilderness”

    Upper Red Canyon

    Upper Red Canyon remains threatened
    by the “No More Wilderness” policy.
    Photo copyright Ray Bloxham/SUWA.

    In the past month, two major Intermountain West newspapers editorialized in favor of rescinding the egregious “No More Wilderness” policy, which threatens millions of acres of wilderness-quality public land in Utah and other western states.  Almost two years into the Obama administration, this Bush-era policy remains in place.

    On October 29, the Denver Post called on Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to “pull the Interior Department back from the extreme position it holds on the designation and protection of wild public lands.” Further, “Interior Secretary Ken Salazar should order his agency to reverse course. These wild and beautiful places ought to be safeguarded while federal lawmakers mull whether they ought to be given more permanent protection.”

    Then, on November 10, the Salt Lake Tribune editorialized that “Salazar can and should overrule the 2003 deal and return to the accepted interpretation of FLPMA. Once our outdoor treasures are irreparably damaged, they cannot be repaired. We must protect them for our children and grandchildren.”

    These two papers are just the latest in a series of conservation groups, businesses, members of Congress and other elected officials, law professors, newspapers, bloggers, and activists such as yourself who have urged the Obama administration to abandon the “No More Wilderness” policy and protect the wild places in the West.

    Please add your name to those who have asked Secretary Salazar and President Obama to stand up for America’s wild heritage.

    Into the Field with SUWA Staff (and Terry Tempest Williams too!)

    What is a day like in the life of a SUWA field staffer?  Recently, we have started arming our field staff with FlipCams to show our members and activists what they do on a regular basis.  During the past month, two of our field staff, Brooke Williams and Ray Bloxham, have been spending a good amount of time field checking our proposed wilderness units in the Book Cliffs in central-eastern Utah.  The latest video showcases a trip into the Book Cliffs with Brooke and SUWA board member and renowned writer Terry Tempest Williams.  Also, be sure to check out the video of Ray and Brooke’s previous trip out there.

    Help Protect Arch Canyon from Off-Road Vehicles!

    Please tell the Utah BLM State Director that Arch Canyon is a gem that must be preserved — not managed as a playground for ATVs and dirt bikes.

    Arch Canyon screensaver image
    Arch Canyon.  Photo copyright Liz
    Thomas/SUWA
    .

    The Bureau of Land Management recently denied SUWA’s request to protect Arch Canyon from the damage caused by of off-road vehicles (ORVs).  Instead, the BLM is managing this rare and valuable desert oasis as a racetrack and obstacle course for ATVs and dirt bikes.  In denying SUWA’s request, BLM stated that ORV use does not cause damage to the “cultural, fisheries or riparian resources in the canyon,” even though the eight-mile ORV route crosses the stream 60 times in a one-way trip up to the U.S. Forest Service boundary, where the vehicles must turn around and then drive back down the canyon, crossing the stream another 60 times!

    Unfortunately, BLM’s recent decision is just business as usual, putting motorized use above the preservation of valuable natural and cultural resources.

    While we are reviewing legal options, please contact Juan Palma, Utah BLM Director, and ask him to protect Arch Canyon’s rare desert stream, resident fish species, and irreplaceable cultural resources by closing Arch Canyon to ORV use.