Utah redrock wilderness supporters pack hearing on protection for Greater Canyonlands

Terry Tempest Williams, Utah Senator James Dabakis and Mark Ritchie of Black Diamond Equipment testifying at the Greater Canyonlands hearing

The hearing room today at the Utah State Capitol was packed with people who showed up to support Utah State Senator James Dabakis’ resolution calling for protection of Greater Canyonlands – the 1.4 million acre landscape surrounding Canyonlands National Park.  In fact, so many people showed up they didn’t all fit in the room – there were another 50 people outside of the room. This means over 100 Utahns showed up with less than 24 hours notice to support protection for Greater Canyonlands!

The Senate Natural Resources committee listened to testimony from Mark Ritchie, CFO of Black Diamond Equipment, and Terry Tempest Williams, among others. Mark Ritchie spoke of Greater Canyonlands’ importance as a resource that helps to support Utah’s $5 billion a year outdoor recreation industry. Terry Tempest Williams spoke of Greater Canyonlands as a “a spiritual reservoir” and “a geologic truth that belongs to all of us.”  Only one person was present to speak against the resolution.

The committee members were very polite and talked about the need to protect Greater Canyonlands (with some disagreement about what “protection” means).  Then they voted to take up the resolution during Interim Committee – which is a victory (they could have just killed it). The bottom line is that thanks to you, and the thousands of supporters of protection for America’s redrock wilderness across the country, we are moving forward. A huge thanks to Utah Senator James Dabakis and Rep. Patrice Arent for being courageous in sponsoring this resolution.  The dialogue will continue!