November 2020 Redrock Report

Nov 23rd, 2020 Written by suwa

Labyrinth Canyon Proposal Sparks Outrage

Labyrinth Canyon Helium Project Lease Area (Ray Bloxham)The last-minute push by the Trump administration to approve a helium well in the heart of the Labyrinth Canyon Wilderness has resulted in a number of op-eds and Letters to the Editor in opposition. Tim Glenn, the former director of the John Wesley Powell River History Museum in Green River, Utah, writes in a Salt Lake Tribune op-ed: “I can’t stand to see a place like this diminished in that way. For thousands of years, this area has been a place of refuge and sustenance for untold communities. It has been a home, a garden and a sanctuary. The BLM should reverse course on this lease before it’s too late.”

Stephen Trimble, writing in The Hill, puts it succinctly: “Cynical, transactional arrogance like the Twin Bridges lease have driven management decisions in Trump’s America. The Biden administration must do better.”

Photo © Ray Bloxham/SUWA

Podcast Highlights Threat to Labyrinth Canyon

Labyrinth Helium Project Podcast GraphicIn our latest podcast episode, SUWA Staff Attorney Landon Newell discusses the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) proposal to allow a helium drilling project within the newly established Labyrinth Canyon Wilderness. This is the latest in a long series of outrageous actions on public lands by President Trump’s BLM, but there are ways for you to get involved in the effort to stop the drilling of this spectacular wilderness before it starts.

Since its debut in 2018, SUWA’s Wild Utah podcast has covered a number of issues facing redrock country. Please join our growing world of listeners by subscribing to Wild Utah through Spotify, iTunes, Stitcher, or on our website.

>> Click here to listen now

“Wild Faith” Webinar on Dec. 2nd Will Explore Spiritual Value of Wilderness

Wild Faith Webinar GraphicThere are many ways individuals come to appreciate the inherent value of wild places. One of those ways is through spiritual connection, contemplation, and renewal. Join us for a dynamic “Wild Faith” panel discussion on the spiritual value of wild places and how people of all faiths can join together as a powerful voice for the protection of public lands in Utah and across the West. This event will take place via Zoom on December 2nd from 6-7PM MST (8-9PM EST/5-6PM PST).

The panel discussion will be moderated by our Faith Community Organizer, Madison Daniels. Our panel will feature Ernest Begay, a Traditional Counselor at Montezuma Creek Community Health Center, Fr. Steve Keplinger, a Reverend at Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Arizona; and Anna Thurston, a Research Assistant for the Yale Forum on Ecology and Religion. Each panelist comes from a unique faith background but their love for the Earth and Utah’s wilderness unites them.

>> Click here to register now

Submission Deadline Approaches for SUWA’s Stewardship Scholar Essay Contest

Stewardship Scholarship Essay Contest GraphicThis Sunday, November 29th, is the deadline to apply for the SUWA Stewardship Scholar Essay Contest. Students who identify as Black, Indigenous, or a person of color are invited to submit an essay on their relationship with nature and its stewardship for a cash scholarship and publication opportunity. This scholarship is open to students in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, or a Tribal nation in the region who will be enrolled at least half-time at a college, university, or vocational institution for the Spring 2021 academic calendar.

>> Visit for essay prompts and application instructions

‘Tis the Season for SUWA Gift Memberships

A $25 gift membership to SUWA is the perfect local, ethical, and environmentally friendly gift for all the conscientious consumers on your list. Your gift recipient will receive a welcome packet that includes a newsletter and a yellow “Protect Wild Utah” sticker. Please order by today (Nov. 23rd) to guarantee delivery in time for Hanukkah, or by December 7th for delivery in time for Christmas.

>> Click here to purchase a gift membership today!

In Defense of Piñon Nut Nation

Pinyon Pine Cone (Jane Shelby Richardson/Wikimedia Commons)Stephen Trimble has a wonderful essay over at that is well worth reading. “Trump’s implacable aggression toward my home landscape takes direct aim at the piñon-juniper woodland of the Southwest—the third most extensive plant community in the country—a landscape I love,” he writes. “And so I’ve got to speak up.”

Trimble’s essay examines the BLM’s mechanical vegetation removal program, including its most egregious form, chaining. “Chaining had its heyday in the 1960s and 1970s. In these early days of his career, archaeologist Kevin Jones surveyed areas proposed for chaining, recording cultural sites in the way of the bulldozers. He remembers the experience “with great horror. I felt like I was a funeral director. I realized I may be one of the last people to see these beautiful hills and archaeological sites before this place is completely devastated and destroyed.”

>> Click here to read the full article

Photo © Jane Shelby Richardson/Wikimedia Commons