Utah Wilderness News, January 6, 2011

Wild lands offer an opportunity for solitude

"I am reminded of one aspect of wilderness that is personally critical.  The 1964 Wilderness Act includes as one of several qualifying criterion for wilderness: an area that 'has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation.'

The opportunity for solitude is important for healthy individuals in part because our world is filled with noise, from the increasing dominance of cell phones to the many forms of entertainment via television, movies and computer games."  Essay – New West

New wild lands policy restores wilderness as a valued resource

"The intent behind Salazar’s announcement is encouraging; the rubber will meet the road, however, in the policy’s implementation. As the agency solidifies the components laid out in the December announcement, it can set a course for sound implementation by clarifying some of the language left hazy in the announcement.

From there, it will be important for the Interior Department to affirm in its guidance the fact that BLM managers at the state and local levels are compelled to actively manage any future 'Wild Lands' for the values that deemed them such – rather than seek ways to avoid the determination in the first place, or approve projects that undermine the characteristics that qualify the lands for protective management."  Op-ed – The Durango Herald

Thanking Secretary Salazar

"Environmentalists, hunters, anglers, hikers, birdwatchers, archeologists — anyone who finds in wilderness experiences that can be duplicated nowhere else — owe a debt of gratitude to Salazar. His decision will protect thousands of acres of wilderness for our children and grandchildren.

'The fact is,' Salazar said, 'Americans love the wild places where they hunt, fish, hike and get away from it all, and they expect these lands to be protected wisely on their behalf.'

We will hold him to that commitment."  Op-ed – The Grand Junction Sentinel

Rep. Bishop is already on the warpath

"A staunch House critic of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar hopes to undermine a recent Interior policy change that paves the way for conserving large areas in western states without a formal wilderness designation by Congress.

'It is so bad we will use whatever mechanism is possible,' said Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), when asked Wednesday about legislative efforts to block the policy. Bishop chairs the subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, which is a panel of the Natural Resources Committee."  Read more – E2 Wire