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America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act would protect iconic western landscapes with evocative names like Cedar Mesa, the Escalante Canyons, and the Kaiparowits Plateau. This visionary legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives since 1989, first by then-Utah Rep. Wayne Owens, and subsequently by Rep. Maurice Hinchey of New York and Rep. Rush Holt of New Jersey. In 1997, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois agreed to introduce a Senate version of the bill and has done so every Congress since. Rep. Alan Lowenthal of California is the current House sponsor.

In October of 2009, America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act received its first stand-alone hearing in the House Natural Resources Committee. The hearing showcased the support of prominent Utahns – including former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, former Republican State Legislator Bryson Garbett, and Black Diamond CEO Peter Metcalf – who all spoke passionately on the importance of protecting the redrock for the future of the state.

As a large expansive landscape that remains unspoiled by modern development, the lands in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act comprise a prime piece of what scientists say is needed today – protecting 30% of America’s land and water by the year 2030 in order to prevent catastrophic collapse of the natural systems on which life on earth relies.  Centrally located in the Intermountain West, these lands are also a vital link in the interconnected chain of largely undisturbed lands running from the Grand Canyon to Glacier, providing corridors for wildlife, birds and plants that are essential for them to survive the extinction crisis.

All lands proposed for wilderness designation in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act are owned by the American public and administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The bill is supported by SUWA, Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Wasatch Mountain Club, and more than 200 other national and regional conservation organizations belonging to the Utah Wilderness Coalition.

Gooseneck proposed wilderness. Copyright Ray Bloxham/SUWA.

Gooseneck proposed wilderness. Copyright Ray Bloxham/SUWA.

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