October 2016 Redrock Report

Oct 27th, 2016 Written by suwa

Urge the BLM to Protect Recapture Canyon by Keeping it Closed to ATVs!

Recapture Canyon (Liz Thomas)The Bureau of Land Management’s Monticello field office is accepting comments on a proposed trail system in and around Recapture Canyon in Utah’s southeast corner. Your input can help persuade the agency to do the right thing!

The BLM is considering six alternative courses of action ranging from an extensive all-terrain vehicle (ATV) trail system both in the canyon and along its western rim to a “no action” alternative that maintains the status quo. We support Alternative E, which will keep the canyon and its western rim closed to ATV use while initiating a process to stabilize and protect existing cultural sites.

Recapture Canyon, with its year-round stream, is a rare riparian ecosystem rich in cultural resources. According to the BLM, the canyon contains 148 identified cultural sites, including cliff ruins, large rubble mounds, and artifact scatters.

>> Please urge the BLM to protect the cultural resources and rare riparian habitat of Recapture Canyon by keeping ATVs out of this sensitive area.

Photo © Liz Thomas/SUWA

Is that Bears Ears on the Horizon?

Bears Ears Buttes (Tim Peterson)Last week, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell  issued a secretarial order encouraging cooperative management opportunities between the Department’s land and water managers and federally-recognized tribes.

This is good news, and long overdue. As the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition has been arguing for well over a year, it’s long past time that Native voices and traditional knowledge were incorporated in public land use planning.

The order, it should be noted, doesn’t establish the collaborative management the Bears Ears Inter-tribal Coalition is seeking at Bears Ears—but it’s an encouraging sign that the Obama administration is taking seriously its pledge to elevate the relationship between tribal nations and the federal government.

So is a Bears Ears monument next? We certainly hope so—but it will require constant public pressure in the final months of the Obama administration.

>> Click here for a fun and easy way to show your support for Bears Ears on Facebook!

Photo © Tim Peterson

Court Rejects Drilling in Upper Desolation Canyon

Upper Desolation Canyon (Ray Bloxham)A federal judge recently issued an order rejecting a natural gas project on public lands along the Upper Desolation Canyon stretch of the Green River in eastern Utah.

Part of the larger, highly controversial Gasco Natural Gas Development Project approved by the BLM in 2012, the 16-well project at issue in the judge’s ruling was slated for
construction on three drilling pads adjacent to the Upper Desolation
Canyon stretch of the Green River, where families and river runners enjoy solitude between
high canyon walls, sandy beaches, and groves of cottonwood trees. The court held that the BLM’s evaluation of air pollution, and in particular ozone pollution, was inaccurate and inadequate. The judge also agreed with us that the agency did not seriously consider the noise from drilling these wells and how that would affect river runners and families.

A big thank you to all our members who submitted comments on the Gasco project, wrote letters to the editor opposing the project, or otherwise supported our efforts to send this one back to the drawing board. We couldn’t have done it without you!

>> Click here to learn more

Photo © Ray Bloxham/SUWA

Midwesterners and Mainers Turn Out in Support of the Redrock

Unity Church Group in CincinnatiSUWA’s Midwest slideshow tour kicked off in October with a visit to Unity Church of Garden Park in Cincinnati. Also welcoming us and supporting the cause were the Petoskey and Straits Area Audubon Societies along the shores of Lakes Michigan and Huron, the Iowa City Sierra Club, and a happy crew at T-Bock’s Bar & Grill in Decorah. Dayspring Native American United Methodist Church in Peoria and the Midwest SOARRING Foundation in Lockport, Illinois round out the list. Attendees are now busy signing postcards to President Obama urging him to designate a Bears Ears National Monument and sending words of appreciation to the supporting Senators in Illinois and Michigan: Richard Durbin, Debbie Stabenow, and Gary Peters.

We felt the redrock love in Maine this fall as well. Each year, SUWA’s eastern organizer heads up to Unity, ME for the Common Ground Fair, which attracts folks from all over the northeast. This year was our best year yet as we collected hundreds of postcards to President Obama asking him to protect Bears Ears (many people were excited about the recently designated Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument). We also spoke with dozens of students from colleges and universities throughout the region (and Georgia too!). It may be a long way from Utah, but New Englanders certainly love our public lands!

Photo © Clayton Daughenbaugh/SUWA

SUWA Is Hiring!

SUWA has an immediate opening for a full-time Latino Community Organizer in our Salt Lake City office.

The primary focus of SUWA’s Latino Community Organizer is building, maintaining and demonstrating support within Utah’s Latino community for SUWA’s congressional and administrative efforts to protect Utah’s wilderness lands.

Interested applicants should send a cover letter, résumé, 2-page writing sample (original work), and 3 references to The deadline to submit your application is November 23rd.

>> Click here to read the complete job announcement