Utah Wilderness News, June 6, 2011

Utah governor & other leaders are betraying the outdoor recreation industry

“Without question, great vistas and unspoiled wilderness areas are the reason to visit Utah. Elected officials who promote public policies that deny access and overturn conservation efforts undermine the very core of Utah’s economic well-being.”  Opinion – The Salt Lake Tribune

Public land protection stimulates economic growth

“Just 3 percent (in 2000) of total personal income in the West came from agriculture, mining and energy development, and lumber and wood products. That statistic transcends Rep. Rob Bishop’s rhetoric when he decries the ‘war on Western jobs’ posed by wild country preservation.

Rural sociologists find that permanent protection of ‘natural amenities’ on public lands stimulates economic growth. Rural counties with protected lands (wilderness and national parks and monuments) do even better when they have access to an airport (Moab and St. George take advantage of this) and ski resorts (a huge draw in Utah). Rural economies grow with an educated workforce (so invest in education and quit frivolous anti-fed lawsuits).”  Letter-to-the-Editor – The Salt Lake Tribune

About-faces from Obama administration are potentially disastrous

“And in a matter of months, Obama Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has gone from champion of ‘wild lands’ and advocate of ‘wilderness study areas’ to lapdog of industries dedicated to tearing up the American West.

Last week, Salazar issued a memo saying, in effect, forget what I said half a year ago about wild-land designation for certain stretches of public land; instead, I bow and scrape before a Western Republican gang of laissez-faire representatives and senators — and, of course, to the money that put and keeps them in office …”  Editorial – The Santa Fe New Mexican

Did pre-election politics play a role in the Wild Lands policy reversal?

“It’s unfortunate that Salazar, who only just reinvigorated the wild lands policy, so quickly reversed course.”  Editorial – The Denver Post