Utah Wilderness News, June 2, 2011

Outdoor Industry, Conservation Groups pan Obama administration’s Wild Lands reversal

“A decision by the Department of the Interior today to not implement the Bureau of Land Management Wild Lands policy threatens the very infrastructure supporting the nation’s recreation economy, according to Outdoor Industry Association.”  Read more – Outdoor Industry Association

“All of us here at Black Diamond were extremely disappointed to hear that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar had issued a statement today announcing that the Wild Land Policy he unveiled in December (with Black Diamond CEO and Founder Peter Metcalf by his side) will not be implemented.”  Read more – Black Diamond Journal

“This is a major disappointment on many obvious levels, not least of which is the amount of energy we – our member companies, OIA, and The Conservation Alliance – put in to defending an Obama Administration policy that the administration then abandoned. More important, the millions of acres of lands that qualify for Wild Land designation are once again threatened without an obvious and timely path to protection.”  Read more – Conservation Alliance Blog

“Today, the Obama administration capitulated to a handful of western anti-wilderness politicians by abandoning its 5-month-old Wild Lands policy. This surrender could seriously harm our efforts to protect Utah’s red rock wilderness.”  Read more – Redrock Headlines

“Congress started a mess in April when it stopped funding the Interior Department’s “Wild Lands” program. But in a memo released today, Interior Secretary Salazar made the situation about how to manage these unprotected wilderness lands worse.”  Read more – Switchboard, from NRDC

“The last minute sneak attack which hamstrung the policy in this year’s budget is bad news for our public lands—and for scores of local economies that depend on outdoor recreation. The future of some of our most cherished wild places should not be determined by political games.”  Read more – Sierra Club Press Room

“We are deeply disappointed in Secretary Salazar’s decision today to undermine his Wild Lands policy. This policy helped provide the guidance needed by the Bureau of Land Management to properly manage lands as required by the Federal Land policy and Management Act of 1976. Today’s memorandum ignores the BLM’s obligation to protect wilderness values and effectively lets stand former Secretary Gale Norton’s deeply flawed decision to prohibit the BLM from properly managing those public lands that harbor wilderness values. Without strong and decisive action from the Department of Interior, wilderness will not be given the protection it is due, putting millions of acres of public lands at risk.”  Read more – The Wilderness Society

“Though anti-conservation Members of Congress are responsible for blocking funding for wild lands protection, we are disappointed by this announcement.  Secretary Salazar needs to recognize—as he did when issuing the Wild Lands Policy—that his department is responsible not just for inventorying America’s pristine lands but also for protecting them for the benefit of future generations.”  Read more – League of Conservation Voters

“Tim Mahoney, policy director of the Pew Campaign for America’s Wilderness, said activists would have to work with Congress and the administration in the months ahead if they hoped to institute broader wilderness safeguards than what Salazar is now proposing. ‘This does not adequately protect land, and that is what is required,’ he said.”  Read more – The Washington Post

“’The time has come to create certainty and provide clear and lasting direction for the future management of backcountry BLM lands,’ said TRCP President and CEO Whit Fosburgh. ‘These important backcountry areas demand responsible management, especially given the growing interest in developing public-lands energy resources. This announcement does not resolve the issue, however, and sportsmen look forward to working with Secretary Salazar and Deputy Secretary Hayes to implement policy providing clear and specific direction for the conservation of backcountry BLM lands where the public hunts, fishes and enjoys the great outdoors.’”  Read more – Fly Rod + Reel Online

“Millions of acres of Bureau of Land Management wilderness will not be given a Wild Land designation. Several companies in the outdoor industry and advocacy groups fought for the creation of a Wild Lands provision that could be used to fast-track BLM land for protection, but it won’t happen.”  Read more – The Goat (Backcountry.com)