Utah Wilderness Activists Go to Washington
Earlier this month, 24 activists with the Utah Wilderness Coalition convened in Washington, DC to meet with congressional offices and discuss Rep. Rob Bishop’s draft Public Lands Initiative (PLI), the Utah Test and Training Range (UTTR) Expansion bill, America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act (ARRWA), and the importance of protecting Utah’s extraordinary wilderness-quality lands. Activists from Utah and around the country stormed the Hill in teams of twos and threes, meeting with 120 offices in the Senate and House of Representatives.
We’re grateful to all 24 Wilderness Week participants for joining us in DC for this important week of lobbying. It’s because of these people, and supporters like you, that we are able to continue working to #ProtectWildUtah!
Photo: Activists with Rep. Lowenthal in Washington, DC, © Maureen Sheldon
Outcry Builds against Public Lands Initiative
On March 2nd, over 600 Utahns poured into a “Citizens’ Hearing” in Salt Lake City on Utah Representative Rob Bishop’s Public Lands Initiative (PLI), packing a huge auditorium, lining the walls, and standing shoulder to shoulder a dozen deep in the back of the room. More people spilled out into the auditorium’s entryway.
With palpable passion, speaker after speaker decried the PLI as a disaster for Utah’s public lands and called on President Obama to proclaim a Bears Ears National Monument as proposed by a historic coalition of Native American tribes. >>Watch video
Two weeks later, on March 15th, a group of students from campuses along the Wasatch Front gathered at the Utah State Capitol in united opposition to the PLI and to show support for a Bears Ears National Monument. After speaking to the media, they delivered a letter to Governor Gary Herbert outlining their concerns. >> Watch Video
Add your voice! There’s still time to comment on the draft Public Lands Initiative. If you haven’t yet done so, please click here to submit your comments.
Photo: Citizens’ Hearing on PLI, © Ray Bloxham/SUWA
What You Can Do to Help Win a Bears Ears National Monument
The tribally-led campaign to protect the Bears Ears region as a national monument continues to gain steam, but we need to show President Obama a groundswell of support from around the country. One of the most helpful actions you can take is to write a letter-to-the-editor or a guest editorial to your local newspaper. Letters and guest editorials to both small town publications and major urban newspapers are beneficial!
You can submit something anytime. The important thing is to look for a “hook” – a story in your paper that you can refer to that provides a relevant pivot for your commentary. News stories or other opinion pieces about the management of public lands are excellent hooks. For example, a story about controversial efforts across the West to seize control of federal lands allows you to praise the affirmative effort by the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition to promote protection of the public lands that make up part of their ancestral homelands through monument proclamation.
If your letter is published, please send us a link at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Bears Ears, © Jeff Clay
Tell Your Members of Congress to Oppose Land Grab Hidden in UTTR Bill
The “Utah Test and Training Range Encroachment Prevention and Temporary Closure Act” (H.R. 4579), introduced by Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT), aims to give away federal public lands under the guise of national security.
A companion to Senator Hatch’s S. 2383, the legislation would withdraw roughly 625,000 acres of BLM lands to expand the Utah Test and Training Range—already the largest military training ground in the United States—purportedly to accommodate a new fleet of F-35 jets. But it goes well beyond that mission by granting 6,000 miles of RS 2477 rights-of-way to Box Elder, Juab, and Tooele counties.
Rep. Stewart’s proposed expansion is merely part of the broader effort by the State of Utah to seize our nation’s public lands. We need you to contact your member of Congress and expose this bill for what it is—a land grab shamelessly hiding under the guise of national security.
Write to your members of Congress and tell them to oppose this latest land grab attempt!
Photo: Cedar Mountain Wilderness, © Ray Bloxham/SUWA
Wisconsin Activists Promote Utah Wilderness in Midwest
Wisconsin Friends for Utah Wilderness have been promoting the redrock far and wide. Volunteers staffed a table at Canoecopia in Madison, the world’s largest paddlesport expo, garnering hundreds of postcards asking President Obama to designate a Bears Ears National Monument and thanking Sen. Tammy Baldwin and other legislators for supporting America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act. They’ve even taken to the airwaves doing a one-hour radio show explaining the glories of canyon country and the importance of protecting Utah’s wild public lands. Take a listen!
Photo: Utah Wilderness table at Canoecopia