SUWA Action Alerts


  • March 18th, 2022

    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is developing a motorized travel management plan for the greater Paunsaugunt area near Kanab, located just west of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and south of Bryce Canyon National Park. The plan will determine where off-road vehicle (ORV) use is allowed in this incredible place for decades to come.

    Check out our latest story map below to learn more, then take action by submitting comments to the BLM by the March 25th deadline.

    Click image to view story map.

  • March 16th, 2022

    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is developing a motorized travel management plan for the greater Paunsaugunt area outside of Kanab—a plan that will determine where off-road vehicle (ORV) use is allowed in this incredible place for decades to come.

    Just west of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and south of Bryce Canyon National Park, the Paunsaugunt travel management area encompasses roughly 200,000 acres of BLM-managed lands. The diverse character of the area, from lava flows and sand dunes to ponderosa pine forests and thousand-foot-high cliffs, provides spectacular opportunities for quiet recreation. The region also encompasses significant cultural sites and important wildlife habitat.

    The BLM is currently in the “scoping” phase of its travel planning process, which identifies issues the agency must consider. It is vital that the BLM hears from the public that the current route network is not acceptable, and that the number and mileage of motorized routes must be reduced to minimize damage and protect public land resources.

    Click here to submit your comments to the BLM today.

    Upper Kanab Creek proposed wilderness. © Ray Bloxham/SUWA

    Federal law requires the BLM to minimize impacts to natural and cultural resources when designating motorized vehicle routes. The agency’s current travel plan—pushed through in 2008 during the waning days of the George W. Bush administration—blanketed the area with ORV routes, prioritizing motorized recreation at the expense of all other public land users. It also designated routes that travel directly through cultural sites, fragment wildlife habitat, and damage wilderness-caliber public lands.

    The BLM should ensure access to trailheads, scenic overlooks, and recreation opportunities, but it must also protect the very reason people want to drive to such remote places: to enjoy their unspoiled beauty.

    Tell the BLM to fulfill its legal obligation and keep motorized trails out of wildlife habitat, cultural sites, and proposed wilderness in the Paunsaugunt region.

    The most helpful comments will mention specific areas or trails (by name or number); explain how you enjoy hiking, camping, and other non-motorized pursuits in these areas; and discuss (if appropriate) how motorized use has disrupted your enjoyment of those activities.

    The BLM is accepting comments through March 25, 2022. Be sure to make your voice heard!

    Thank you for taking action!

  • January 31st, 2022

    Great news! Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) recently sent a letter to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland urging her department to designate new wilderness study areas as part of the Biden administration’s goal of protecting 30 percent of public lands and waters by 2030. That crucial goal simply isn’t possible without the robust participation of the Department of the Interior, which is the nation’s largest land manager. And with the climate and extinction crises wreaking havoc on our world, the time to act is now.

    Joining Sen. Durbin on the letter were six other senators: Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA), Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).

    If any of these senators represent you, please click here to thank them now.

    “Our remote lands are overlooked sometimes in conversations about addressing the climate crisis, but their contributions will be crucial. Public lands not only support complex ecosystems, but also can sequester carbon and make areas more resilient to the impacts of climate change,” the senators wrote in their letter.

    “More than 29 million acres of public lands are in need of protection. For years, DOI has not utilized its ability to protect these lands, leaving places like the Vermillion Basin in Colorado, Granite Range in Nevada, the Bodie Hills in California, Hatch Canyon in Utah, Otero Mesa in New Mexico, and the Owyhee Canyonlands in Oregon without proper protection for their unique resources. Without proper protections, these lands face many threats that could jeopardize wilderness-quality values the Bureau of Land Management stated these lands have.”

    To read the full text of the letter, click here.

    As the senators rightly point out, protecting public lands is one of the key ways we can help mitigate the climate crisis. We are extremely grateful to them for connecting the dots, and for reaching out to the Interior Department with solutions.

    If any of your senators are listed above, please thank them for standing up for wilderness across the West!

    Thank you.

  • December 13th, 2021

    In 2019, as part of the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, Congress passed the Emery County Public Land Management Act, which designated, among other things, 17 new wilderness areas (totaling 663,000 acres), the San Rafael Swell Recreation Area, and three Wild and Scenic segments on the Green River. The measure represented a major step forward in the protection of Utah’s public lands, and it wouldn’t have happened without the support of redrock advocates like you.

    As a result of these new designations, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Price field office must update its management plan for each of the affected areas—and that’s where you come in. The agency has kicked off its planning process and is asking for public input.

    Please tell the BLM you want these new plans to prioritize the protection of natural, cultural, and scenic values.

    Muddy Creek Wilderness. Copyright Ray Bloxham/SUWA

    Some management directives are clear, such as the preservation of wilderness values, and the prohibition of motorized use, mining, and oil and gas development in designated wilderness areas. Others are less clear, such as the amount of commercial recreation use allowed in the wilderness areas, as well as what activities can be allowed in the San Rafael Swell Recreation Area, along Wild and Scenic river sections, and on unprotected wilderness-quality lands. While these areas are not designated as wilderness, they are essential parts of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act and play a crucial role in meeting the Biden administration’s goal of protecting 30 percent of America’s lands and waters by 2030.

    You have the opportunity to help shape the BLM’s management of these iconic landscapes so their natural, cultural, scenic, wildlife and other values are protected from the impacts of motorized recreation and irresponsible development.

    Click here to submit your comments to the BLM today.

    This “scoping” period is the first of several steps in the planning process, and it is the time when the BLM is most open to new information and ideas for management of these areas over the next several decades. This is our chance to influence how this irreplaceable redrock country will be managed for generations to come.

    Please speak up by January 7, 2022, and make your voice heard!

    Thank you!

  • December 1st, 2021

    Great news! The Navajo Nation Council has passed a resolution in support of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, a first-of-its-kind endorsement that acknowledges the role protecting public lands can play in combating climate change.

    “Protecting our land is important to the Navajo people and we support this wilderness designation in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act,” said Speaker Seth Damon (Bááhaalí, Chichiltah, Manuelito, Red Rock, Rock Springs, Tséyatoh). “President Biden outlined a robust policy change across the federal government to address climate change. It is imperative that the Navajo Nation work on a global level to address this growing problem that affects our oceans, air, and water.”

    Will you take this moment to stand with the Tribe and ask your members of Congress to cosponsor America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act?

    Comb Ridge. Copyright Tim Peterson, flown by LightHawk

    Sponsored by Senator Dick Durbin and Representative Alan Lowenthal, America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act would designate more than 8 million acres of Bureau of Land Management land as wilderness, the highest form of protection for federal lands. The bill would protect iconic Utah landscapes such as Cedar Mesa, Factory Butte, the Kaiparowits Plateau, and the Greater Canyonlands area.

    As the ancestral home of many Tribes, the region contains abundant and significant cultural resources. Protecting these wild landscapes would also keep a significant amount of fossil fuels in the ground, accounting for 5.7 percent of the carbon mitigation needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

    “Our support for this Congressional bill sends a message that the Navajo Nation is concerned about climate change and the impact on our environment,” said Delegate Herman Daniels, Jr. “Since time immemorial, we have lived in the canyons, mountains, and on the mesas currently managed by the federal government that would be protected and preserved by this Congressional bill. For generations, our Indigenous people across the United States have been the original caretakers of our sacred lands and it will remain so.”

    Please ask your members of Congress to support America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act today. And if any of your representatives are already cosponsors, please click here to thank them.

    SUWA is committed to working with Tribes to help protect the redrock permanently. We are grateful to the Navajo Nation for their efforts to support America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act.

    Add your voice by asking your members of Congress to cosponsor today!