Planning Process Underway for San Rafael Swell and Surrounding Public Lands

Dec 13th, 2021 Written by Judi Brawer

In 2019, as part of the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, Congress passed the Emery County Public Land Management Act, which designated, among other things, 17 new wilderness areas (totaling 663,000 acres), the San Rafael Swell Recreation Area, and three Wild and Scenic segments on the Green River. The measure represented a major step forward in the protection of Utah’s public lands, and it wouldn’t have happened without the support of redrock advocates like you.

As a result of these new designations, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Price field office must update its management plan for each of the affected areas—and that’s where you come in. The agency has kicked off its planning process and is asking for public input.

Please tell the BLM you want these new plans to prioritize the protection of natural, cultural, and scenic values.

Muddy Creek Wilderness. Copyright Ray Bloxham/SUWA

Some management directives are clear, such as the preservation of wilderness values, and the prohibition of motorized use, mining, and oil and gas development in designated wilderness areas. Others are less clear, such as the amount of commercial recreation use allowed in the wilderness areas, as well as what activities can be allowed in the San Rafael Swell Recreation Area, along Wild and Scenic river sections, and on unprotected wilderness-quality lands. While these areas are not designated as wilderness, they are essential parts of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act and play a crucial role in meeting the Biden administration’s goal of protecting 30 percent of America’s lands and waters by 2030.

You have the opportunity to help shape the BLM’s management of these iconic landscapes so their natural, cultural, scenic, wildlife and other values are protected from the impacts of motorized recreation and irresponsible development.

Click here to submit your comments to the BLM today.

This “scoping” period is the first of several steps in the planning process, and it is the time when the BLM is most open to new information and ideas for management of these areas over the next several decades. This is our chance to influence how this irreplaceable redrock country will be managed for generations to come.

Please speak up by January 7, 2022, and make your voice heard!

Thank you!