Utah Wilderness News, March 25, 2011

Salazar deserves thanks

“Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar has had the thankless responsibility for cleaning up the stygian mess he inherited from his predecessors. Among his many tasks in restoring balance to BLM public lands management is the restoration of a national policy, Secretarial Order 3310, to allow the identification and protection of lands with wilderness characteristics.”  Letter-to-the-editor – Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

“Beyond the misleading rhetoric are some hard facts: The BLM wild lands policy assures that the agency will follow federal law. It requires public involvement while creating opportunities to conserve prime fish and wildlife habitat. It offers a common-sense resolution to the uncertainties currently surrounding management of valuable public lands. The policy’s future remains uncertain, however. Hunters and anglers need support from the Colorado U.S. Senate delegation to uphold and defend this important conservation tool.”  Opinion – The Denver Post

“He recently announced a policy that allows counties like ours across the West to weigh in with federal land managers to let them know when we think the public lands we use and love are deserving of additional protections. The Bureau of Land Management’s “Wild Lands” policy ensures that the wilderness qualities of critical landscapes throughout the West will again be considered in public lands management decisions.”  Opinion – ABQ Journal

Off-road vehicles are a problem that is just getting worse

“In Utah right now the Greater Canyonlands area, consisting of a million acres surrounding the Canyonlands National Monument, are under assault by off road vehicles.  There is an attempt underway to get Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to administratively ban ORV traffic from over a thousand miles of trails that have been scraped into existence by irresponsible riders.  Another 15,000 miles would be left open in other areas nearby.  That should be enough.”  Read more – Only in New Mexico

“The request by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance that the Department of Interior restrict 1,000 miles of all-terrain-vehicle trails in the ‘Greater Canyonlands’ redrock wilderness in southeast Utah only scrapes the surface of the problem.”  Letter-to-the-Editor – The Salt Lake Tribune

We must preserve an old, valid conservation tool

“There’s no compelling reason to change land-protection laws that have served this country well. Congress creates wilderness areas; presidents create national monuments. House Republicans have gone so far as to try to prevent the Bureau of Land Management from even studying whether any of its lands are wilderness quality. That’s wrong, too, but if GOP lawmakers aren’t interested in using their authority expand wilderness, that’s their prerogative. However, lawmakers have no business trying to kill the authority of the president to designate monuments.”  Editorial – The Oregonian

Why the ‘middle of nowhere’ matters

“In the same way that solitude isn’t the ‘absence of sound, but the absence of distraction’ (Terry Tempest Williams), ‘nowhere’ has nothing to do with nothingness or emptiness but is everywhere still devoid of development and filled with clarity that dissolves whatever the crust or shell that keeps us isolated or buffered from the rest of life.”  Read more – Adventure Journal

Focus on renewables remains bleak

“Forty-seven percent of Utah’s energy production is from coal, 40 percent from natural gas, 12 percent from oil and the remaining 1 percent from renewables. Utah has enormous potential for clean, renewable energy and the jobs and research dollars it can bring. The state should focus on that, rather than clinging to ever-dirty fossil fuels and even dirtier air.”  Editorial – The Salt Lake Tribune