September 2017 Redrock Report

Sep 28th, 2017 Written by suwa

Longtime Redrock Champion Senator Durbin Visits Bears Ears

Senator Durbin Bears Ears Visit, Sept 2017 (Jen Ujifusa)

Senator Dick Durbin has been the champion for Utah’s wilderness for 20 years—introducing the legislation to protect it, fighting off threats, and helping behind the scenes to advance Bears Ears National Monument. Last weekend we had the honor of showing him and his staff around Bears Ears and preparing for the battles ahead. He met with leaders from the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, marveled at ancient petroglyphs, and proved adept at rock scrambles. At a time when the president is threatening to rescind monuments like Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, we’re lucky to have him fighting for them. Thank you, Senator, and come back soon!

Photo © Jen Ujifusa/SUWA

Monumental Attack: Herbert’s Recommendations, Zinke’s Report Are Outed

Honeycomb Ruin, Cedar Mesa (Jeff Foott)There’s no question that Utah’s national monuments are the focus of the Trump administration’s unprecedented attack on our public lands. In mid-September, the
Salt Lake Tribune reported that Utah Governor Gary Herbert privately urged Interior Secretary Zinke to “shrink Bears Ears to one-tenth its current 1.35 million acres, scaling the southeastern Utah monument down to about 120,000 acres surrounding Mule and Arch canyons west of Blanding.” And apparently Zinke complied; the Washington Post released a leaked copy of the secret report that Zinke delivered to President Trump last month. Although the report doesn’t mention specific acreages, other reports indicate that more than 90% of Bears Ears and perhaps more than half of Grand Staircase-Escalante are on the chopping block. If President Trump attempts to follow through on any of Zinke’s or Herbert’s recommendations, SUWA is prepared to take the administration to court—and we believe we’ll win.

Please consider making a contribution to SUWA today so we have the resources to defend Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in court.

Photo © Jeff Foott

Once Again, BLM Targets Sensitive Public Lands for Oil & Gas Leasing

Tin Cup Mesa (Neal Clark)

Bolstered by the Trump administration’s push for unfettered fossil fuel development, the Bureau of Land Management is offering 46 oil and gas leases on federal public lands in southeastern Utah. How bad is it this time? Included in the sale are several proposed leases on the doorstep of Bears Ears National Monument, in the Goldbar Canyon and Labyrinth Canyon proposed wilderness areas near Moab, in a culturally rich area known as Alkali Ridge, and along popular segments of the Green and San Juan Rivers—also home to several endangered fish species.

“Leasing on the doorstep of Bears Ears National Monument is a clear indication that oil and gas companies—aided and abetted by the Trump administration—intend to push development into one of the most culturally and ecologically significant landscapes in the United States,” said SUWA Staff Attorney Landon Newell. “We intend to rally our members and the public to oppose this short-sighted scheme.”

Stay tuned for a call to action in the coming weeks. In the meantime, click here to read our press release.

Photo © Neal Clark/SUWA

America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act Gets Four New Cosponsors!

Senator Tammy DuckworthAs this session of Congress progresses, America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act (ARRWA)continues to gain new cosponsors. Not even halfway through the 115th session, the House and Senate versions of the bill have 78 and 20 cosponsors, respectively. Since August, the total number of cosponsors has risen by four. In the Senate, Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) is the newest cosponsor, while the new cosponsors in the House are Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA), Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Representative Betty McCollum (D-MN). If you are a constituent, please reach out and thank your representatives. In addition, we’d like to thank all of our citizen activists for contacting your representatives and encouraging them to cosponsor ARRWA—we appreciate your passion and commitment!

Public Domain Photo: Sen. Tammy Duckworth

SUWA Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with a Call to Proteja Utah Salvaje!

Hispanic Heritage Parade & Festival, SLCSUWA is celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month through October 15th. We are actively engaging local Latinx and Hispanic communities by contributing to related Hispanic heritage events and having fun outside of the usual conservation-outreach box.

Ten brand new volunteers joined us in making signs and marching in the Utah Hispanic Heritage Parade para representar nuestra tierra y salvar Grand Staircase-Escalante y los Bears Ears in style. A minty ’66 Chrysler New Yorker donned the SUWA banderas to showcase volunteers in defense of public lands. One especially helpful volunteer shared information about the Trump administration’s attack on national monuments with Spanish speakers, helping us collect 74 postcards to Utah Governor Gary Herbert from the wider Latinx community. The parade organizers stated that no environmental non-profit had reached out to the community before we joined, yet the energy runs high para Proteja Utah Salvaje!

Photo © Cynthia Lucero

Mainers Show Love for the Redrock at Common Ground Country Fair

Rep Chellie Pingree, Common Ground Fair (Travis Hammill)SUWA’s eastern grassroots organizer, Travis Hammill, reports that the Common Ground Country Fair in Maine this past weekend was a HUGE success. The fair is an
enormously popular fall attraction in the northeast, drawing some 60,000 visitors annually. This year, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME), a longtime cosponsor of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, spoke at the opening of the fair and even stopped to take a photo with our sign (pictured here).

During the three-day event, field organizer John Demos and activist Ed Riggs, along with a group of hardworking volunteers, collected 900+ postcards in support of Utah’s national monuments and other public lands. On Saturday, Travis gave a presentation on Utah wilderness to 50 people at the “Environmental Causes” tent. Overall, we had a wonderful time and recruited many new people to stand for Utah’s wild public lands!

Photo © Travis Hammill/SUWA

Field Volunteers Log 682 Hours of Service; More Trips Scheduled for the Fall

Elk Ridge Service ProjectSupporters from Utah and across the country have joined SUWA’s Field Volunteer crews to work toward the protection of Utah’s wild public lands, logging 682 volunteer hours over the last 14 months! Focusing on wilderness preservation, cultural and archaeological resource protection, and ecosystem integrity, volunteers have worked with the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to restore aspen tree colonies high atop Elk Ridge, rehabilitate destabilized hillsides adjacent to sacred cultural sites, protect riparian habitat in drainages feeding Tenmile Canyon, and more.

We work directly with local land managers to improve on-the-ground conditions and promote a shift in the culture of public lands visitation. Consider joining us for a service trip this fall:

  • Crack Canyon WSA in the San Rafael Swell, September 30/October 1
  • Calf Creek Falls in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, October 14/15
  • Indian Creek in Bears Ears National Monument, October 21/22
  • Salt Wash south of the San Rafael Swell, November 3

Contact to learn more and to register.

Photo © Jeremy Lynch