Redrock Activists Hit the Halls of Congress

Mar 7th, 2024 Written by suwa

Each year, SUWA’s DC and Organizing teams work with the Utah Wilderness Coalition to host a redrock wilderness appreciation party in Washington, DC. It’s technically called “Wilderness Week,” and its purpose is to lobby elected officials to cosponsor America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act. But we think “redrock wilderness appreciation party” captures the spirit of these long days—and the dedicated, passionate activists who attend—a bit more accurately.

Here are some quick stats from this year’s festivities:

1 Representative’s staffer who suggested we “water the desert” to stop the windborne dust (driven in part by off-road vehicle use, grazing, and vegetation removal) that’s coating Colorado River Basin snowpack, melting it faster and earlier.

2 Full-time SUWA staff based in DC keeping track of everything happening on Capitol Hill (with the help of 1 very enthusiastic graduate student intern, Amy!).

6 SUWA regional organizers (meet yours!) who identified activists to lobby in DC.

8 million Acres of public land in Utah that would be protected in the Red Rock bill.

110 Combined Red Rock bill cosponsors in the Senate (22) and House (88), with more expected to be confirmed soon!

23 Wilderness Weeks attended by current record-holder Clayton Daughenbaugh, long-time SUWA organizer and now enthusiastic volunteer!

24 States represented by activists.

47 Activists in attendance; 20 had been to Wilderness Week before and 27 attended for the very first time.

100+ Groups part of the Utah Wilderness Coalition that support the Red Rock bill.

Over 190 Meetings and office visits with elected officials asking them to cosponsor the Red Rock bill.

A special shout-out to our lead Red Rock bill sponsors: Senator Dick Durbin and Rep. Melanie Stansbury! They’ve told us that regularly hearing from constituents and having meetings with activists sends a clear message to elected officials that they should cosponsor the Red Rock bill! It may take many years and many visits, but that persistence and dedication helps stop attacks on the redrock and allows us to seize unique opportunities to protect Utah’s wild places.

Events like Wilderness Week help to remind all of us that we’re part of the nationwide Protect Wild Utah movement. Even in times of political uncertainty, these moments serve as inspiration for everyone involved: activists, elected officials, staff, and hopefully you too! If you’re able, please consider a donation to help make this work possible.

Redrock champion Rep. Melanie Stansbury (second from left) with SUWA staff and activists at Wilderness Week 2024.


Redrock champion Senator Dick Durbin (center) with SUWA staff and activists at Wilderness Week 2024.