Utah Wilderness News, February 14, 2011

House Republicans: "Wild Lands" not worth protecting

"The bill would also prevent the Bureau of Land Management from implementing its new 'wildlands' policy, established in December by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. The policy, which has been in Western Republicans' cross hairs, allows BLM to survey and provide interim protections for certain public lands that have not received a formal wilderness designation from Congress."  Read more – NYTimes/ClimateWire

Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT): "I look forward to fighting the Wild Lands policy all the way to its ultimate extinction."  Read more – Press Release

But hunters, the outdoor industry, and religious leaders support the "Wild Lands" policy

"Frank Hugelmeyer, Outdoor Industry Association president, also emphasized the economic benefit of wild lands for those who sell outdoor gear and activities, an industry that contributes $730 billion to the U.S. economy. The industry is outpacing the economy so it’s not a jobs-versus-the-environment discussion, Hugelmeyer said — it’s a jobs-versus-even-more-jobs debate."  Read more – Twin Falls Times-News

Solitude is a critical component to wilderness

"The new guidelines by the Bureau of Land Management concerning wildlands have the potential to change the landscape in Utah. Or, more accurately, to leave the landscape unchanged. While waiting for positive steps of implementation, I am reminded of one aspect of wilderness that is personally critical. The federal Wilderness Act includes this as one of several qualifying criteria for wilderness: an area that 'has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation.'”  Letter-to-the-Editor – The Salt Lake Tribune