September 2022 Redrock Report

Sep 24th, 2022 Written by suwa

Comments Due on Grand Staircase-Escalante Management Plan this Tuesday (9/27)

Broken Bow Arch, Grand Staircase-Escalante (Jeff Foott)The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is accepting preliminary input (known as “scoping comments”) on how to manage the recently restored Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This is a rare opportunity to tell the agency what issues to consider as it develops a draft management plan that will affect the monument for decades to come.

Public comments are due this Tuesday, September 27th. Please tell the BLM to prioritize wilderness and other conservation values in the new management plan.

⁠>> Click here for more information and to submit your comments

>> Learn more by listening to our latest podcast: All You Need to Know about Grand Staircase-Escalante RMP

Photo © Jeff Foott

Labyrinth Canyon Needs Your Voice: Tell the BLM to Preserve the Quiet Beauty of this Flatwater Gem!

Labyrinth Canyon, Tidwell Bottom (James Kay)The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is accepting comments on a draft travel management plan for the iconic Labyrinth Canyon and Gemini Bridges area outside of Moab. The plan will have a long-lasting impact on the future of this region by determining where off-road vehicles will be able to travel and what areas will be managed for the protection of wildlife, solitude, cultural values, and non-motorized recreation.

Labyrinth Canyon is a gem of the American West, where the placid Green River flows for more than 40 miles past towering canyon walls. This sublime stretch of river provides a multi-day flatwater wilderness experience that is suitable for families and boaters of all experience levels. It is also a designated Wild and Scenic River, noted for its outstanding recreational, scenic, ecological, and cultural values.

The BLM has released four alternatives for the future of Labyrinth Canyon and Gemini Bridges. Alternative B is the only option that balances motorized recreation with the protection of natural and cultural resources and non-motorized recreation.

Comments are due October 7thPlease Tell the BLM to choose Alternative B and keep motorized trails out of the Labyrinth Canyon river corridor and other sensitive or inappropriate places in the planning area.

>> Click here to learn more and submit comments.

Photo © James Kay

Join Us for Utah Monuments: The Real Work Begins (a Virtual Event)

Monuments Virtual Event Graphic (2022)

There’s a lot going on with Utah’s monuments these days! To learn the latest, please join us for a free online presentation hosted by SUWA on Monday, October 3rd from 6-7 PM MT (8-9 PM ET / 5-6 PM PT).

It’s been almost one full year since we celebrated President Biden’s restoration of Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments. The all-important land management planning processes have now officially kicked off, but the State of Utah has formally challenged the restorations in a lawsuit filed against the Biden Administration in August.

So what does this mean for Utah’s monuments and what comes next? We’ve invited SUWA board member and former co-chair of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk, and SUWA’s legal director, Steve Bloch, to explain the current state of things. Please join us and learn what you can do to reinforce protections for these outstanding places!

>> Click here to register by October 1st.

Skutumpah Paving Project Planned at Doorstep of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Skutumpah Area (Ray Bloxham)The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is considering allowing Kane County, Utah to upgrade and pave the southernmost segment of the Skutumpah Road—adjacent to and within Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The project would facilitate a private gravel mining operation, and the design is suited to a high-volume paved road, not a remote road winding through mostly undisturbed and natural landscapes.

The BLM’s draft environmental assessment asserts that the project will increase safety for the public but provides no evidence to support its conclusion. Nor does the draft document acknowledge that paving will irrevocably destroy the remote backcountry nature of the Skutumpah Road by visually scarring the landscape and damaging the monument’s values. In fact, the 2000 Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument Management Plan almost entirely forbids improvements to road surfaces in acknowledgement of the harm these upgrades can have on the monument’s objects and values.

The BLM is accepting public comment through October 13th. Now is your chance to tell the agency that:

  • This project will permanently degrade the natural beauty and backcountry nature of the Skutumpah Road, which is enhanced by the gravel surface that blends into the landscape and compels drivers to travel attentively, rather than speeding to a destination. Paving the Skutumpah Road is simply incompatible with the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument’s resource values and will visually impair these remarkable landscapes.
  • The draft environmental assessment does not support its conclusion that paving the road will make it safer for the traveling public. In fact, paving the road will make it more likely that vehicles will travel at unsafe, high rates of speed and increase the severity of vehicular accidents.

>> Click here to submit your comments via the agency’s web portal

Photo © Ray Bloxham

Utah Silvestre Podcast Series Explores Hispanic Heritage in Redrock Country

Utah Silvestre Podcast GraphicWhen we protect wild Utah, we protect Latino culture. Latinos have deep roots and connections to America’s redrock wilderness. Their stories deserve to be told, and to be reflected in the larger story of the United States.

This Hispanic Heritage Month and beyond, you can learn more about these important connections through our Utah Silvestre podcast miniseries.

>> Click here to listen now (in English or Spanish)