Lease Sale Comments Due this Month
Deadline extended to 12/11!
Not long ago we told you about the Biden administration’s plan to auction off more than 6,600 acres of public land in Utah for oil and gas development. You may have even submitted comments in September, during the scoping phase of the public process. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has now released its environmental assessment for this lease sale and is accepting public comments through December 11th. Once again, we need you to raise your voice.
Development on these parcels would threaten wildlife, water resources, and recreation while exacerbating the climate crisis. Four of the six parcels are located adjacent to the Green River in the Uinta Basin, while another is located adjacent to the San Rafael Reef Wilderness, just north of the entrance to Goblin Valley State Park.
The Interior Department has recognized that the current oil and gas program is broken because, among other things, it “fail[s] to adequately incorporate consideration of climate impacts into leasing decisions” and “inadequately account[s] for environmental harms to lands, waters, and other resources.” The BLM should not offer any new parcels until these shortcomings are resolved, and the Biden administration should stand by its promise to curb fossil fuel leasing and development on our public lands.
Photo © Ray Bloxham/SUWA
What’s Next for Utah’s Restored Monuments?
It’s been almost two months since President Biden restored Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments to their original boundaries. So what comes next? In our latest Wild Utah podcast, we invited SUWA Legal Director Steve Bloch to explain the current state of things.
Steve has guided SUWA’s work through legal and administrative challenges on both monuments over the years. In this episode he bring us up to date on the process, answers your frequently asked questions, and explains what you can do to reinforce protections for these outstanding places.
Photo © Tim Peterson
Submission Deadline Extended for 2021 Stewardship Scholar Essay Contest
SUWA’s Stewardship Scholar Essay Contest provides an opportunity for young people living in the Southwest to share their perspectives on conservation issues that affect their lives and communities. And we just extended the deadline, so applicants now have until January 2nd to submit their essays!
Students who identify as Black, Indigenous, or a person of color are invited to submit an essay on one of this year’s topics for cash prize scholarships and a publication opportunity. The 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 2022 academic calendar.
Visit suwa.org/scholarship for essay topics and application instructions.
SUWA’s Jack Hanley Wins Wilderness Stewardship Award as Field Program Wraps Up Another Successful Season
Days after wrapping our 2021 field volunteer season, SUWA Stewardship Coordinator Jack Hanley was awarded an “Individual Champion of Wilderness Stewardship” award by the National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance during their annual Wilderness Workshop. To be recognized for our work protecting the redrock by the national stewardship community is an honor and encouragement as we begin planning for our seventh season of stewardship ahead.
2021 was a return to form for our Stewardship Program as we spent the better part of the year working on wilderness within and around the San Rafael Swell, setting in motion the first protections many of these areas have seen since their designation as wilderness in 2019. All told, 191 volunteers committed 3,341 hours over 48 project days.
Among their many accomplishments, our volunteers managed access to 18 miles of non-permitted off-road vehicle routes, performed 9,120 square feet of surface rehabilitation, installed 74 signs, constructed 22 cairn baskets, and built 1,363 feet of log and block barrier. In addition, 230 acres in Bears Ears National Monument were surveyed for cultural resources, 17 miles of river corridor were managed for camping impacts to wilderness study areas, and 145 pounds of trash were removed from wilderness.
Visit our blog for a look back at our productive year. We hope you find inspiration and join us on the ground in 2022!
Redrock Supporters Celebrate Wild Utah Mural in Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City’s first “Protect Wild Utah” mural stands bright and proud in Salt Lake City across from a light rail stop. The mural was painted by wild Utah grassroots leader and artist Beto Conejo. Utah politicians repeatedly disregard local care for public lands; this is one Latinx-led initiative to demonstrate the importance of herencia y querencia (inheritance, heritage, and care) to our elected officials and reaffirm that support within our community.
At a celebration of the mural on November 20th, Mayra Cedano of Comunidades Unidas and Dr. Armando Solórzano of the University of Utah spoke about the importance of Utah’s public lands to Latinx health, history, and community—demonstrating that Wild Utah sustains all of us, and that we all play a role in sustaining Wild Utah.
Photo © Olivia Juarez/SUWA
Give the Gift of the Redrock this Season
Looking for that special something for the wilderness lover on your list? Our online store has you covered. Check out our limited-edition collection celebrating the restoration of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. We’ve turned the designs of local Utah artist Josh Scheuerman into colorful stickers, magnets, and a unisex T-shirt featuring these incredible redrock landscapes. We won’t be ordering more of these, so buy them now before they’re gone!
Other gift options include our SUWA logo T-shirts in both men’s and women’s sizes, and the ever-popular “Protect Wild Utah” trucker hats. Find them all at suwa.org/goodies, and don’t forget to purchase your gift items by December 6th to assure delivery by Christmas.