Redrock Report: August 2010

August 2010

Here’s what is happening this month with the redrock:
The San Juan River wilderness is threatened by off-road vehicle abuse.
2.  Secretary Salazar and other administration officials come to town.
3.  Help protect wild Utah with your activism!
4.  Join us for the 2010 SUWA Roundup!

Help Us Protect the San Juan River from Excessive Off-Road Vehicle Use

San Juan River proposed wilderness. Copyright Ray Bloxham/SUWA.

“After passing by River House ruin, the San Juan River winds its way past the jagged Comb Ridge and into the serpentine canyon of the San Juan River proposed wilderness.  A movement on river left catches my eye as a small clan of bighorn sheep scuffle up the steep limestone ledges.  Several river meanders later, we find a welcoming sandy beach upon which to camp for the night.  We fall asleep gazing at the brillant starry sky.”
– Liz Thomas, SUWA Field Attorney

Already under threat from excessive off-road vehicle use, the San Juan River proposed wilderness is one of the many spectacular areas that could be subject to permanent off-road abuse if a backroom deal for public lands in San Juan County, Utah goes through.

Please ask the
Obama administr
ation to oppose the San Juan County Commissioners’ “pro-ORV,
anti-wilderness” legislation should it get introduced and pushed
through in the waning days of this Congress
.  The magnificent landscapes of
San Juan County, including the San Juan River, deserve meaningful protection.  Working together we can make
certain they get it.

Activists Tell Secretary Salazar to Protect Wild Utah

Earlier this month, redrock activists in Salt Lake City had the opportunity to both hear Interior Secretary Ken Salazar speak at a downtown hotel and then pose for photos with a cardboard cutout of the Secretary as part of a SUWA outreach event at the Outdoor Retailer Show.

On August 3, Secretary Salazar, BLM Director Bob Abbey, and other Obama administration officials came to Salt Lake for an America’s Great Outdoors listening session. Utah wilderness activists were everywhere, vastly outnumbering the small group of off-road vehicle enthusiasts who attended.  Secretary Salazar and Utah Governor Gary Herbert both gave a shout out to SUWA, citing our recent work to reach a deal with the Bill Barrett Corporation that would protect the wild lands of Desolation Canyon from the impacts of energy development.  However, we were disappointed to hear Secretary Salazar’s praise of Senator Bennett’s so-called process for public lands legislation in San Juan County,  We were also dismayed not to hear any specifics from administration officials about using the BLM’s authority to protect wilderness-quality lands.

The next day, SUWA was graciously hosted by Osprey Packs at their booth at the Outdoor Retailer Show for the Conservation Alliance’s “Keep It Wild” Day.  We collected over 300 postcards asking the Obama administration to protect wild Utah, and participants posed for photos with “Flat Ken”, a likeness of Interior Secretary Salazar.

Thank you to Osprey Packs, the Conservation Alliance, and all of the redrock activists who participated in these two events!  If you couldn’t attend, you can still do your part by sending a message to Secretary Salazar asking him to protect Utah’s magnificent natural treasures.

Get Involved in Redrock Activism!

Our dedicated members and activists have enabled us to make significant gains for Utah wilderness protection.  Currently, there are two major issues where you can really make a difference — convincing the Obama administration to overturn the “No More Wilderness” settlement and helping to stop a backroom deal that’s bad for the San Juan-Canyonlands wilderness.  Here’s what you can do:

1)  Attend an America’s Great Outdoors listening session if one comes to a town near you and tell Obama administration officials to protect wilderness-quality lands in Utah.  Upcoming listening sessions will be held in Illinois, South Dakota, and Maine, with more to be scheduled.  You can fill out this form if you plan to attend and would like us to send you some talking points, or if you would like us to alert you about upcoming listening sessions.  If you can’t make it to a listening session, be sure to visit the America’s Great Outdoors website and vote for “ideas” to protect our wild places — especially the idea to “Protect Wilderness-Quality Public Lands.” You can also comment and submit some of your own ideas.

2)  Volunteer to visit the local offices of your members of Congress and ask them to help protect Utah’s wilderness-quality lands.  Please fill out this form or email if you’re interested.

Thanks for all that you do to help protect wild Utah!

Join Us for SUWA’s Annual Roundup

Mark your calendar for SUWA’s 2010 gathering at Hidden Splendor, September

Enjoying a View of the Muddy Creek WSA
Roundup hikers enjoying a view of the
Muddy Creek WSA

Held in the heart of the San Rafael Swell, the SUWA Roundup offers our supporters and staff the opportunity to meet one another and to enjoy the beautiful Indian summer of redrock country with fellow desert rats from Utah and other states.  Activities include a discussion of Utah wilderness issues with SUWA staff and board members, a potluck dinner, evening music around the campfire, and—best of all—guided day-hikes in our Muddy Creek proposed wilderness area.  Sunday morning you’ll awake to freshly brewed coffee followed by a deluxe continental breakfast prepared by the SUWA staff in thanks for all your support and dedication.  Also, this year, because the Roundup coincides with National Public Lands Day (on Saturday, September 25), we’re going to organize a service project for people who are interested in participating.

If you plan to attend this year’s Roundup, here’s what you should bring: a potluck dish serving five people for Saturday evening (if you plan to eat with the group), your own food for Friday evening and Saturday breakfast and lunch, camping gear, plenty of drinking water (none is available on site), utensils, folding chairs, and, if you have them, lanterns and tables to share with the crowd.  Feel free to bring your own musical instruments and favorite libations,
too.  Click here for more information. To RSVP, contact Deeda Seed at (801) 428-3971 or

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