Redrock Report - Page 14 of 15

  • July 30th, 2010

    Here's what is happening this month with the redrock:
    1.  SUWA and our partners work out an historic agreement.
      Let Interior Secretary Salazar know that you want him to protect Utah wilderness!
    3.  Help spread the word on Facebook and win a SUWA hat!
    4.  Congratulations to our photo contest winners!

    5.  Calling all bloggers!
    6.  Get involved in local action this summer.

    Historic Agreement Will Protect Desolation Canyon

    Desolation Canyon
    Desolation Canyon. Copyright Ray Bloxham/SUWA.

    Today, we announce that
    SUWA and our partners have reached an historic agreement with the Bill
    Barrett Corporation that will ensure that the Desolation Canyon stretch
    of the Green River will be protected from the sight and sound of
    industrial development even during the development and extraction of
    substantial natural gas reserves that Barrett currently has under lease.

    In addition, the
    agreement clears the way for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to
    approve a final record of decision for the "West Tavaputs Full Field
    Natural Gas Development Project" on July 30.  Both the agreement and the
    record of decision are also supported by the state of Utah, the Utah
    School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, and Carbon County.

    The agreement resulted in a dramatically reduced surface footprint,
    particularly in the Desolation Canyon and Jack Canyon proposed
    wilderness areas, while permitting BBC to recover the considerable
    natural gas resource in the area.  As originally conceived under the
    Bush administration, the West Tavaputs project included over 225 surface locations in proposed wilderness areas.  Now, fewer than six locations would be developed.

    The Desolation Canyon
    proposed wilderness area in Utah is one of the most remarkable, remote
    landscapes in the lower 48 states.  By working with the Bill Barrett
    Corporation, we have been able to to protect and enhance this crown
    jewel of the public lands while allowing the company to achieve its goal
    of developing the natural gas resource.  This also serves as a powerful
    example of the progress that is resulting from the constructive ongoing
    discussions between advocates for Utah wilderness and county
    commissioners, land managers, and energy companies.

    Read the full press release here.


    Tell Secretary Salazar to Protect Utah Wilderness!

     [object Object]
    When Ken Salazar took over the reins as Secretary of Interior he proclaimed
    that there's a “new sheriff in town.”  Now that Obama administration officials are about to head to Salt Lake City, let's hold Secretary Salazar to his word.

    In 2003, the State of
    Utah and the Department of Interior secretly negotiated a deal in which the
    Interior Department abandoned its duty to identify and protect lands worthy of
    wilderness designation.  Relying on that back-room deal, in the last days of the
    Bush administration the BLM issued land use plans for 11 million acres in
    eastern Utah which included only limited protection for wilderness-quality
    lands.  Secretary Salazar has the authority to rescind the “no more wilderness”
    deal and give wilderness-quality lands the protection they deserve.  He should
    use it
    before we lose these treasured landscapes.

    Please send a message to Secretary Salazar asking him
    to defend Utah’s magnificent natural treasure
    s from off-road vehicle abuse, vandalism to
    archaeological sites, and the drilling of new oil and gas wells until Congress
    can protect these lands
    capes permanently under the Wilderness

    Spread the word on Facebook and win a SUWA hat!


    Bush administration's "No More Wilderness Policy" continues to threaten
    the future of Utah's redrock wilderness.  Help us rally up more support
    for overturning this policy on Facebook, and you can win!  Just ask
    your friends to sign our petition to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and BLM Director Bob Abbey
    If you can make your way into the "top signature gatherers" by August
    3, when these officials will be visiting Utah, you will win a SUWA hat. 


    Congratulations to our "Wild About Utah" Photo Contest Winners!

    By design, our bright yellow "Protect
    Wild Utah" buttons and stickers are easy to spot from far away.  In
    spring of 2010, we asked our members and activists to show us where they
    have displayed their passion for protecting Utah wilderness or where
    they have found a "Protect Wild Utah" button or sticker during their
    travels for a chance to win some fantastic prizes.  We received entries from around Utah, throughout the United States, and from places on five different continents. 

    Thank you to all who entered and to our prize donors, Ultralight Adventure Equipment, Black Diamond Equipment, and Joby!

    All winning photos can be viewed on our website.

    People's Choice/Most Creative Best in Utah Farthest from Utah

    First Place
    photo contest finalist 9
    Dance Hall Rock, Grand Staircase-
    Escalante National Monument. 
    Entry by David Mowry.

    First Place
    photo contest finalist 6
    Meadow, Utah.  Entry by James Ruda.

    Second Place
    Entry by Greta Hyland.

    Third Place
    Entry by Vicki Allen.

    First Place
    photo contest winner 1
    Adelaide, Australia.  Entry by Julio Cesar Facelli.

    Second Place
    Entry by Mike and Jean Binyon.

    Third Place
    Entry by Dave Rubin.

    People's Choice Finalists:  Entries by Bruce
    Taterka, Chris Schiller, Eric Kuhn, Dave Rubin, Heather Carter-Young,
    James Ruda, Sarah Grant, Gary Warren, Greta Hyland.

    Calling all Bloggers!

    Do you write an
    environmental, political, or Utah focused blog? Want to stay informed about
    the latest breaking news in the effort to preserve Utah wilderness? Sign up by filling out this form, and we'll send you occasional blogger-friendly alerts and media links on
    the latest news affecting Utah wilderness.

    Questions? Send an email to

    Wild Utah Summer of Local Action 2010 is Underway

    This summer, redrock activists from around the country
    will be speaking to their members of Congress and Obama administration
    officials about protecting Utah wilderness.  To get involved, please fill out this form or email

    President Obama's "America's Great Outdoors Initiative" listening sessions have given Utah wilderness supporters a unique opportunity to talk
    to administration officials about the threats to redrock country. 
    During these events, attendees are divided into small groups to discuss
    four conservation topics with a representative from the Department of
    Interior, Department of Agriculture, or other federal agency (what
    works, challenges, the federal government's role, and tools for
    success).  Already, activists have spoken on behalf of Utah wilderness
    in Montana, Maryland, Washington, California, Colorado, and New Mexico.  Future listening sessions will be held in Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, and Poughkeepsie, NY, with more to come.  If you are interested in attending one of these or future listening sessions, let us know and we will send you some talking points.  Thank you to everyone who has attended a listening session so far!

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  • June 22nd, 2010

    June 2010

    Here’s what is happening this month with the redrock:
    1.  Final hearing held on proposed Alton coal mine.
    2.  Tell the Obama administration to protect Utah’s wild lands!
    3.  Activists share ideas at the SUWA grassroots retreat.
    4.  New redrock bill cosponsors include Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA)

    Threatened Places: Update on the Proposed Coal Mine near Bryce Canyon 

    Friday, the Utah Board of Oil, Gas, and Mining held its final hearing on the
    proposed Alton
    coal mine near Bryce Canyon National Park.  SUWA, the Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club, the Natural
    Resources Defense Council, and the National Parks Conservation Association have
    been litigating to stop the mine in hearings before the Board since last
    December.  We feel confident that our lawyers and our experts in hydrology
    put forward a very strong case.  The Board is expected to rule on our case by the
    end of July.  No matter what happens, an appeal to the Utah Supreme Court
    is likely.

    The mining
    operations would have disastrous effects in southwestern Utah.  The mine and associated truck traffic
    would degrade the air quality and pristine night skies around Bryce.  They
    would launch a stream of coal trucks—one every five minutes
    along State
    Highway 89 through the historic town of Panguitch.  Some area residents
    wisely fear for their health and livelihoods.  “Ninety-five percent of my
    customers are tourists and I don’t want the truck traffic to drive them away or
    the mine to pollute the clean air and water we enjoy here,” says Bobbi Bryant,
    a small-business owner.

    existing proposal is to mine privately-owned coal on private land.  That
    may be just the beginning: the Bureau of Land Management is analyzing another
    proposal by Alton Coal to lease a much larger area of surrounding public land
    for development, compounding the environmental and human impacts and further
    contributing to climate change.

    There is
    one more official opportunity for you to express your opinion about the
    proposed mine.  The Utah Division of Air Quality is evaluating the coal
    company’s air pollution permit now and we’ll let you know when the public
    comment period opens.  We’ll also keep you
    updated on the litigation, the proposal to expand mining onto BLM land, and
    how you can make your voice heard.  Stay tuned.

    This Summer, Your Chance to Speak on Behalf of Utah Wilderness

    In conjuction with President Obama’s “America’s Great Outdoors” initiative, this summer administration officials are holding listening sessions throughout the country to hear what you have to say about land conservation in the United States.  This is a great opportunity for folks around the country to help elevate the issue of protecting Utah’s redrock wilderness in the eyes of the Obama administration. 

    On June 2, Utah wilderness activists attended one of the first listening sessions in Bozeman, MT.  You can read activist reports on the session by activists Carolyn Hopper and Ron Craighead on SUWA’s blog.  The next sessions are scheduled for Annapolis, MD (click here for more information), Charleston, SC, and Seattle, WA, and more are expected to be put on the calendar for the coming months. 

    If you are interested in attending a listening session on behalf of Utah wilderness if one is scheduled in your area, please fill out this form or email  Let’s show the Obama administration that people across the country want Utah’s wild lands protected!

    If you can’t wait for a listening session to be scheduled in your area, you can get involved in the America’s Great Outdoors initiative by visiting this website, sharing your ideas about land conservation, and “promoting” the other ideas that have been submitted.

    And rememberthe summer is also an excellent time to speak with your members of Congress about Utah wilderness.  If you are interested in dropping off information at your Senator’s or Representative’s district office, or would like to organize or attend an in-district meeting with one of your members of Congress, please fill out this form or email

    Activists Strategize at the SUWA Grassroots Leader Retreat

    Wild Utah grassroots leaders gathered at
    the Canyonlands Field Institute this May to
    strategize about the Utah wilderness campaign.

    In May, redrock activists from across the country assembled at the Canyonlands Field Institute outside of Moab, UT for the annual SUWA Grassroots Leader Retreat.  Hailing from places as far as Massachusetts, Michigan, and Washington, and as close as Moab and Bluff, the group of activists spent the weekend hearing updates from SUWA staff about current Utah wilderness issues and strategizing about how they could help advance protection for the redrock once they returned home.  The location was inspiringthe group was surrounded by redrock, with views of Fisher Towers and Castleton Tower, and quick access to the Mary Jane Canyon hiking trail.  The setting was a constant reminder of what is at stake, and all of the activists left with game plans that are now underway.  Click here for more on the retreat.

    *New Cosponsor Spotlight* 

    Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA)

    We are getting closer and closer to breaking the House cosponsor record for America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act!  Those recently signing onto to the bill are Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA), Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) and Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL).  If you live in one of their 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!



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  • May 21st, 2010

    May 2010

    Here’s what is happening this month with the redrock:
    1.  Find out what is happening with the San Juan County wilderness process.
    2.  TAKE ACTION – Ask the White House to address climate change in public lands decisions.
    3.  Send us photos or videos of your family exploring Utah’s wild lands!
    4.  New redrock bill cosponsors include Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL).

    San Juan County Wilderness Process Continues Despite Bennett Convention Loss 

    We want to update you
    about the future of the San Juan-Canyonlands wilderness.

    White Canyon
    The White Canyon proposed wilderness is found in San Juan County. Photo copyright Chris Case

    Sen. Bob Bennett is
    considering creating legislation to determine management for public lands in
    the southeast corner of Utah in the San Juan-Canyonlands region.  SUWA, with our partners in the Utah
    Wilderness Coalition — including the Sierra Club and Great Old Broads — and other
    conservation organizations including the Grand Canyon Trust have been active
    voices in the process.  Meetings have
    been held every other week since mid-April, at which SUWA has presented the
    UWC’s wilderness proposal. 

    At the beginning of this week’s meeting, Sen.
    Bennett’s staff assured us that, despite the Senator’s loss at the recent Utah
    Republican convention, Bennett remains committed to trying to move a San Juan
    County public lands bill this year.  If
    time ends up being a limiting factor, the Senator would work to “hand it off
    effectively” so the process could continue under the guidance and support of
    another member of the Utah delegation.

    For more detailed accounts of the San Juan County meetings, you can view the following posts:
    Dispatch from San Juan County – No. 1
    Dispatch from San Juan County – No. 2
    Dispatch from San Juan County – No. 3
    Dispatch from San Juan County – No. 4

    If you have
    not already done so, please contact your
    members of Congress today
    and ask that they monitor the process
    to help Sen. Bennett produce a bill for San Juan
    County that offers meaningful protections for Utah’s redrock
    wilderness.  If you live in
    Utah, please send a personalized message to Senator Bennett

    Tell the White
    House to address
    climate change in public lands decision

    Early in
    the Obama administration, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar made clear that his
    department would be looking through the lens of climate change when making
    decisions affecting our public lands.  He
    even issued a Secretarial
    saying “the realities of climate change require us to change how we
    manage the land, water, fish and wildlife, and cultural heritage and tribal
    lands and resources we oversee.”  We
    hoped that this signaled a break from the Bush administration, which ignored climate change issues in decisions like the
    six controversial resource management plans for the Colorado Plateau.  Unfortunately, the BLM has still not fixed
    those plans or made any commitment to do so in the future.  Clearly, the Interior Department needs some

    The White
    House Council on Environmental Quality recently proposed  draft guidance on the incorporation of climate
    change in environmental analyses, but it also neglects to require an analysis of the impacts of
    climate change on public lands and natural resources.    

    climate change was supposed to be a priority for the Obama administration.  So far, we haven’t seen much follow through even
    as scientists warn that time is of the essence if we want to bolster the
    ability of native plants and animals to withstand a hotter, drier climate.  Please click here to tell CEQ chair Nancy
    Sutley about the importance of including climate change in all of the
    administration’s decisions
    – including those affecting Utah’s redrock wilderness.

    Photos and Videos of Families in Wilderness

    Do you have great photos and/or videos of you, your family or friends
    exploring Utah’s wild lands?  We’re looking for photos and videos of
    people enjoying Utah’s wild country for use in an upcoming promotional
    campaign.  Please send photos either as files or links (to Flickr,
    Picassa, or other web albums) and links to videos (on YouTube or other
    video hosting sites; please do not email actual video files) to

    *New Cosponsor Spotlight* 

    Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL)

    The number of House cosponsors for America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act continues to grow!  Those recently signing onto to the bill are Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY) and Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL).  If you live in one of their 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!



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  • April 19th, 2010

    April 2010

    Here's what is happening this month with the redrock: 
    1. No more slick oil and gas permits from BLM due to a SUWA settlement.
    2. Share your photos and stories from visits to White Canyon in southeastern Utah.
    3. Remember to submit your entries for SUWA's photo contest!
    4. SW Coloradans: attend "dust on snow" organizing meetings in Durango in May!

    SUWA and Partners Achieve BLM Oil and Gas Reforms through Settlement

    Nine Mile Canyon
    An archaeological site in Nine Mile Canyon. Copyright Ray Bloxham/SUWA.

    Thanks to a successful
    partnership of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, The Wilderness
    and the Nine Mile Canyon Coalition, it was announced on March 31 that oil
    companies will no longer be able to skip needed environmental
    assessments in
    sensitive areas, cinching up a Bush-era loophole that allowed the messy
    of drilling permits.  The settlement with the Bureau of Land
    Management (BLM)
    means “categorical exclusions,” which allowed new drilling to be
    approved without
    first conducting a thorough environmental analysis, will no longer be
    in cases
    where there are cultural resources, wetlands, wilderness and
    highly sensitive factors.

    This is something to
    celebrate, and SUWA, along with our partners in the settlement, is pleased the
    oil and
    gas reforms promised by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar
    to make progress.  No objection has been made by the Bill Barrett
    Corporation, which
    held the 30 wells in Nine
    Mile Canyon
    that triggered the suit.

    For the full press release, click here.

    Threatened Places: White Canyon and its Side Canyons

    White Canyon
    White Canyon proposed wilderness.
    copyright James W. Kay

    North of Natural Bridges National Monument, White Canyon and its
    side canyons carve cool, dark, labyrinthine
    slots so narrow that a human wingspan is enough to bridge their sides.  These canyons' upper walls are adorned with the honeycomb, grottoes and alcoves of
    erosive art, and remnants of Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings
    remain mostly untouched, the difficulty of the terrain thus far
    safeguarding them from vandals and thieves.  Without wilderness
    designation, however, these prehistoric structures and artifacts may
    soon be accessed by looters with bigger and more powerful ORVs before
    they can be fully studied.

    How you can help:

    Have you been to White Canyon, Cheesebox Canyon or another side canyon in this complex, or to any other places in the Glen Canyon wilderness? 
    would love to hear your story, see your pictures, and share them with
    those who can help us protect these treasures for good. 

    us to
      Just send your stories and photos to  (Story and photo submissions will constitute permission
    SUWA to post them on our website and online networks and use them in our
    materials, unless the individual requests otherwise.)


    Time is Running Out for the "Wild About Utah" Photo Contest!

    is your chance to win great prizes for displaying your passion for
    protecting Utah wilderness in your hometown or in places you've
    traveled.  Just take a photo of yourself wearing a "Protect Wild Utah"
    button or sticker, or take a photo of a button or sticker on your
    backpack, on your car bumper, etc.  Don't have a button or sticker?  We
    will continue to accept requests via our online form  through the end of next week.  If we have already sent you a button or sticker, remember to send your photo contest entries to before May 1!

    To view all entries, be sure to check out SUWA's Flickr page.

    Calling All Southwest Coloradans!

    SUWA's Western Regional Organizer, Terri Martin, will be speaking about "Redrock Wilderness or Red Dust Melting Colorado Snow?" in Durango, Colorado this May.  For more information or to schedule a presentation in Colorado, email Terri at

    Read more about SUWA's "Dust on Snow" work in The Aspen Times.


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  • 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

    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.

    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.

    can send your concerns to:
    Sierra, Utah State BLM Director


    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

    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   

    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

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