Stop Vegetation Devastation

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Tell the BLM to stop vegetation devastation on Goslin Mountain (photo copyright Scott Braden)

This will only hurt a little – a bull hog mastication machine deforests the landscape.

In its relentless war against Utah’s native pinyon and juniper forests, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has recently set its sights on the proposed Goslin Mountain wilderness located just south of the Wyoming border in eastern Utah.  Unfortunately for these trees, the agency violated its own commitments in a headlong rush to ”chop first, think later.”  Please tell Juan Palma, BLM’s Utah State Director, to stop this vegetation devastation!

Deforestation projects, or as the BLM euphemistically calls them “vegetation treatment projects,” target native pinyon and juniper trees for removal from the landscape.  In the case of the Goslin Mountain project, the BLM estimates that it will annihilate approximately 110,700 trees with a “bull hog mastication” machine.  That’s right, over 100,000 trees.

SUWA submitted public comments in March of 2010.  However, the BLM approved the project pretty much as it was originally proposed.  We immediately appealed to the agency’s internal review board—the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA)—pointing out a number of legal violations.

Before the IBLA could rule on SUWA’s 2010 appeal, the BLM pulled the project back in for more analysis.  Then in May 2011, the BLM released a slightly revised analysis and gave the green light for the Goslin Mountain project before we could file a second appeal.  However, this was in direct violation of the BLM’s own stipulations that no treatment activities would take place between May 15 and June 30 in order to protect wildlife (elk calving and deer fawning). On June 17, SUWA discovered this violation and immediately requested that the BLM cease activity.  The agency agreed, but said it would only wait until July 1.  We then filed an emergency appeal and stay request.  But now there is a risk that the project could recommence any day and be completed before the IBLA has a chance to review SUWA’s appeal.

Please write to Utah BLM Director Juan Palma today and tell him that the BLM should stop approving these vegetation devastation projects in proposed wilderness areas.

Thank you for taking action!