Take Action for Red Cliffs National Conservation Area and the Mojave desert tortoise!

Jun 13th, 2024 Written by suwa

Should Washington County be allowed to build a four-lane highway through the Congressionally-designated Red Cliffs National Conservation Area (NCA)? Whether you’re a long-time SUWA supporter who remembers the 2009 Omnibus Public Lands Act (which created the NCA), or a new face to the Protect Wild Utah Movement, I hope your answer is a resounding “NO!”

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) needs to hear from Red Cliffs supporters like you— please take action today!

If you need a refresher: the Northern Corridor Highway is a proposed four-lane highway through the Red Cliffs NCA. Local residents and concerned individuals across the country have voiced their opposition to a highway through Red Cliffs for over a decade, and for over a decade, the BLM rejected this misguided proposal, recognizing that it would contradict federal law and the 2009 legislation. However, in the final days of the Trump Administration—ignoring numerous unanswered questions about unforeseen impacts to wildlife, the likely harm to archaeological and historic resources, and in spite of other viable transportation alternatives—the highway right-of-way was approved

Conservation groups, including SUWA, appealed this approval, and in November 2023, the BLM announced it would reconsider the right-of-way. This reconsideration process—the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS)—is underway right now and the BLM is accepting public comments on its revised analysis and possible decision through Tuesday, July 9.

The Red Cliffs NCA encompasses critical habitat that sustains high densities of the threatened Mojave desert tortoise and other imperiled species. The tortoise is on a path to extinction according to leading researchers and its habitat in Southwest Utah is especially vulnerable given recent and anticipated growth in the region. The current right-of-way proposed by Washington County violates federal law and threatens critical wildlife habitat, protections for cultural sites, recreational opportunities, and scenic vistas. It couldn’t be more clear: the Red Cliffs NCA is no place for a highway.

Please take action for Red Cliffs—and share this email with friends, family, and colleagues who you know also care about this special place.