SUWA Action Alerts - Page 34 of 34

  • April 9th, 2010

    Tucked between the rivers slowed by Lake Powell, a wilder, more unpredictable
    set of wonders can be found.  Here, in the still unprotected Glen Canyon wilderness, sandstone domes and
    mesas rise beyond the reaches of the Colorado and San Juan rivers – reminders of
    the pristine beauty that once dominated this entire region.

    Upper Red Canyon (small)
    Upper Red Canyon, copyright
    Ray Bloxham/SUWA.  Click image for more

    Look up to see Mancos Mesa, the largest isolated slickrock mesa in southern
    Utah, a 180-square-mile table rising 1,500-feet high above the surrounding
    desert.  Here, one of Utah’s few relict plant communities of pinyon, juniper,
    blackbrush and yucca thrives undisturbed – save for the hoofbeats of bighorn
    sheep and mule deer.  Moqui and Red canyons meander below, but ORV use is
    eroding the delicate sand formations that provide access to them.

    Now peer around a bend in White Canyon, which carves cool, dark, labyrinthine
    slots so narrow that a human wingspan is enough to touch its sides, and see the
    upper walls adorned with the honeycomb, grottoes and alcoves of erosive art.
    Here, 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.

    Envision a future where the treasures of the Glen Canyon wilderness are
    protected for generations to come.  That’s what we’re working on at SUWA with
    our partners in the Utah Wilderness Coalition, and you can help.

    Have you been to any of these places in the Glen Canyon wilderness?  We would
    love to hear your story, see your pictures, and share them with those who can
    help us protect these treasures for good.

    Write us today!
    (Story and photo submissions will constitute permission for SUWA to post
    them on our website and online networks and use them in our written materials,
    unless the individual requests otherwise.)

  • March 26th, 2010

    It’s an exciting time for friends of redrock country!

    The San Juan-Canyonlands region of southeastern Utah contains some of the most iconic landscapes of the American West, including the ancient ruins of Cedar Mesa, the serpentine San Juan River, and the maze of canyons that comprise White Canyon in the citizen-proposed Glen Canyon Wilderness.  All told, 1.3 million acres in this region are citizen-proposed wilderness in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act.

    White Canyon

    Utah’s Sen. Bob Bennett recognizes the value of protecting these magnificent wild lands and has written to the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and other stakeholders asking for input so we can work together to craft a wilderness bill
    for the area.  This is an exciting opportunity to achieve lasting
    protection for some of Utah’s most significant wild lands.

    With our partners in the Utah Wilderness Coalition we are
    recommending ways to approach the complex landscape of the San Juan-Canyonlands region – looking at region-wide landscape and ecosystem protection, rather than focusing
    on disconnected individual units.  We are encouraging Sen. Bennett to engage in this landscape-based regional approach by taking field trips, meeting with constituents, and taking the time to discuss conflicts and ways to resolve them.  We want to make certain that we use this real opportunity to resolve
    wilderness issues in the region and that we do it right.

    However, the current proposed time period for input is extremely short.  So, to help ensure a transparent and inclusive process, we are asking you to write your members of Congress today to ask that the San Juan-Canyonlands
    wilderness gets the care and consideration it deserves.  It took thousands of years to shape these vistas, and we must be certain protection for them is as carefully crafted.

  • March 1st, 2010

    National Monument(s) for Utah?

    You’ve probably heard news of possible national monument designations for Utah’s San Rafael Swell and Cedar Mesa, and of the ensuing furor from some Utah officials who don’t want federal protection for these special places.  The outcry comes despite the fact that over the last 100+ years, presidents from both political parties have designated national monuments
    Utah.  Many were initially controversial, though they resulted in the long-term protection of some of our most iconic and beloved landscapes, including Arches, Zion, Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef – all of them now national
    parks.  More recently, President Clinton designated the 1.9 million acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument to the chagrin of powerful coal mining interests.  Many in the Escalante area now enjoy the benefits of the nearby
    monument, which draws visitors from around the world.

    Attempts by Utah’s Senator Bennett and Representative Bishop to exempt Utah from the Antiquities Act are misguided. The lands in question are already federal and lie under the clear authority of the BLM to administer in the national interest.

    Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.<br /> View of Muddy Creek WSA
    The San Rafael Swell is among a long DOI list of potential national monuments.  Photo credit: Ray

    Cedar Mesa and the San Rafael Swell are being considered for monument designation because their national significance been recognized for decades.  Both are included in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act and SUWA is working to provide them with the highest form of protection: wilderness designation.  We are doing this by continuing to push for passage of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act in Congress and through constructive dialogue with local leaders, the Utah congressional delegation, and congressional champions of redrock wilderness.  For example, over the last year in Emery County (which encompasses most of the San Rafael Swell), we have been meeting and taking field trips with county officials and other stakeholders, resulting in productive discussions about potential wilderness legislation.  If conservationists and county officials can reach an agreement over wilderness designation, we believe those
    lands would be taken out of consideration for national monument designation.
    Officials in San Juan County, where Cedar
    Mesa lies, have also indicated an interest in developing wilderness legislation.

    Please send Secretary Salazar a message today asking him to use his considerable authority under the law to protect Utah’s wild landscapes and help move wilderness designation forward.