• April 20th, 2022

    Since its inception a few years back, SUWA’s Stewardship Program has aimed to foster a stewardship ethic and promote service as recreation in Utah through opportunities to work directly and actively to preserve and enhance the wilderness character of Utah’s public lands.

    So what does all of that mean– for volunteers, and for the redrock wilderness?

    Tune in to find out! You’ll be transported to a recent stewardship project in the Canyon Rims area (featuring voices from a couple inspiring University of Utah Alternative Break students) while hearing all about SUWA’s stewardship philosophy from one incredibly dynamic duo: Stewardship Director Jeremy Lynch and Stewardship Coordinator Jack Hanley.

    Take action after this episode!

    Sign up to stay in the know about future Stewardship Projects this season and beyond!

    Check out the SUWA Stewardship Project Calendar here!

     

    Thank you to our show supporters!

    Wild Utah is made possible by the contributing members of SUWA. Thank you for your support!

    Become a SUWA member today and support the Wild Utah Podcast

    A special thank you for this episode also goes to the U of U Alternative Break crew who joined us for a one-day project that helped to create the in-the-field audio you hear on this episode.

     

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    Theme music is by Haley Noel Austin, with interlude music by Larry Pattis.
    Dave Pacheco is the host of Wild Utah.
    Post studio production and editing is by Laura Borichevsky.
    A transcript of this episode can be found here.

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  • April 5th, 2022

    More than a year ago, President Biden directed the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to pause all new oil and gas leasing on public lands while the agency conducted a comprehensive review of its outdated oil and gas program. The leasing pause was part of a broader executive order meant to address the climate crisis and represented a much needed pivot away from the prior administration’s relentless assault on our public lands.

    Immediately after the president ordered the leasing pause, the state of Utah and pro-drilling groups such as the Western Energy Alliance launched an aggressive campaign claiming the pause would have devastating effects on Utah’s rural economy. These doomsday predictions were wildly inaccurate.

    Now, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the calls for more public land leasing and development have grown louder. But the clamor for more extraction is a thinly a veiled attempt by fossil fuel interests to profit from the ongoing conflict. It is also based on a false premise: that more public land leasing will lead to more drilling and production, which in turn will lower the price of oil and natural gas.

    Not so.

    Most oil and gas drilling in Utah and across the United States takes place on state and private lands, not public lands. And on public lands, operators have stockpiled millions of acres of unused leases and more than 9,000 unused (but approved) drilling permits (see our recent blog post for more on this).

    The war in Ukraine has made it clear that the world needs to become significantly less, not more, reliant on fossil fuels. Meanwhile, climate scientists are speaking in one unified voice and telling us in no uncertain terms that if we continue drilling, transporting, and burning fossil fuels we are risking everything.

    For far too long the BLM has wrongly elevated oil and gas leasing and development as the primary use of our nation’s public lands, threatening our climate, wild places, cultural heritage, and the continued existence of thousands of species. This unbalanced approach must stop now. Our wild places—and the climate crisis—demand no less.

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  • 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.

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  • 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!

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