Here's what is happening this month with the redrock:
1. Our new media campaign is up and running!
2. Western newspapers editorialize against the "No More Wilderness" policy.
3. Go into the field with Brooke and Terry Tempest Williams.
4. Help protect Arch Canyon!
Relying heavily on broadcast and cable television spots, online ads throughout Utah, and outdoor advertising in the Salt Lake City metro area, the campaign is designed to capitalize upon a growing shift in public opinion about wilderness, and to further educate Utah residents about wilderness as a valuable part of our state's heritage.
The ads, which can be seen on the morning, midday, evening and late night newscasts on every channel in Utah (as well as multiple cable channels and online), are already having an impact. In less than two weeks, over 1500 people have signed up on Facebook in support of Utah wilderness, and contributions in support of the media campaign have come in from across the country from people like you.
To learn more about the media campaign and to see the first three television ads airing now throughout Utah, visit UtahWilderness.org.
Upper Red Canyon remains threatened
In the past month, two major Intermountain West newspapers editorialized in favor of rescinding the egregious "No More Wilderness" policy, which threatens millions of acres of wilderness-quality public land in Utah and other western states. Almost two years into the Obama administration, this Bush-era policy remains in place.
On October 29, the Denver Post called on Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to "pull the Interior Department back from the extreme position it holds on the designation and protection of wild public lands." Further, "Interior Secretary Ken Salazar should order his agency to reverse course. These wild and beautiful places ought to be safeguarded while federal lawmakers mull whether they ought to be given more permanent protection."
Then, on November 10, the Salt Lake Tribune editorialized that "Salazar can and should overrule the 2003 deal and return to the accepted interpretation of FLPMA. Once our outdoor treasures are irreparably damaged, they cannot be repaired. We must protect them for our children and grandchildren."
These two papers are just the latest in a series of conservation groups, businesses, members of Congress and other elected officials, law professors, newspapers, bloggers, and activists such as yourself who have urged the Obama administration to abandon the "No More Wilderness" policy and protect the wild places in the West.
What is a day like in the life of a SUWA field staffer? Recently, we have started arming our field staff with FlipCams to show our members and activists what they do on a regular basis. During the past month, two of our field staff, Brooke Williams and Ray Bloxham, have been spending a good amount of time field checking our proposed wilderness units in the Book Cliffs in central-eastern Utah. The latest video showcases a trip into the Book Cliffs with Brooke and SUWA board member and renowned writer Terry Tempest Williams. Also, be sure to check out the video of Ray and Brooke's previous trip out there.
Please tell the Utah BLM State Director that Arch Canyon is a gem that must be preserved -- not managed as a playground for ATVs and dirt bikes.
Arch Canyon. Photo copyright Liz
The Bureau of Land Management recently denied SUWA’s request to protect Arch Canyon from the damage caused by of off-road vehicles (ORVs). Instead, the BLM is managing this rare and valuable desert oasis as a racetrack and obstacle course for ATVs and dirt bikes. In denying SUWA’s request, BLM stated that ORV use does not cause damage to the “cultural, fisheries or riparian resources in the canyon,” even though the eight-mile ORV route crosses the stream 60 times in a one-way trip up to the U.S. Forest Service boundary, where the vehicles must turn around and then drive back down the canyon, crossing the stream another 60 times!
Unfortunately, BLM’s recent decision is just business as usual, putting motorized use above the preservation of valuable natural and cultural resources.
While we are reviewing legal options, please contact Juan Palma, Utah BLM Director, and ask him to protect Arch Canyon’s rare desert stream, resident fish species, and irreplaceable cultural resources by closing Arch Canyon to ORV use.