by: Mike Swenson
Executive Director, Utah Shared Access Alliance
Imagine nearly 40% of the approximately 22 million acres managed by BLM in our state designated as Wilderness. Along with almost all the roads imagine the loss of access to historical places, resources, and you favorite camp sites, trails, or riding areas.
A Wilderness designation would make much of these things inaccessible to most Americans and we find this unacceptable. The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) thinks over 9 million acres of Wilderness in Utah is not only acceptable but a great idea. Of course they do. Then they and their out of state supporters would have a monopoly on public land. The huge foundations that give millions to SUWA and whose parent companies pillaged the land in the east can now buy themselves a clear path to heaven and a good nights sleep. Sure SUWA and their supporters claim to protect the environment, but really is it about anything other than control and power? If they're so concerned about the environment why don't they put more money into service projects and education and less into suing taxpayers and governments?
SUWA has been pushing for their Wilderness bill for over a decade. Amazingly the bill grew by millions of acres over a few short years. Apparently they had missed a few million acres of untouched pristine land. It easy to do when you travel roads and trails inventorying "roadless" areas. Funny you also encounter vehicles on roads and trails, no wonder why they think the land is overrun with them. Maybe they should try hiking off road once in a while.
So far we have been fortunate. But I am afraid our luck has run out. Now it's time to roll up ourselves, take of the gloves and really get ready to rumble. The political climate has prevented them from making too much progress, but they have been tenacious in pushing for the closure of public land in Utah. With the recent elections and inevitable change coming to Washington D.C. SUWA sees a much anticipated opportunity, and they will capitalize on it with all due haste. This is evidenced by the recent posts on their website. You MUST read this post SUWA Message.
Now folks, I am not a conspiracy theorist nor do I cry the sky is falling when it isn't, but you must believe me when I say this is serious. This is very serious. SUWA will have the best shot they have ever had of taking away your ability to visit those favorite place you and your family enjoy. Well I take that back, you can walk to them if you want.
This harms all of us on a personal level, it harms us on an economic level, it harms our local governments ability to gain money to fund K-12 education, and therefore harms our school children public education, it harms our ability to be energy independent, it harms our land managers ability to manage the land, and the list goes on. Excessive Wilderness designations ares simply plain harmful and wrong.
Luckily none of Utah's congressional delegation support the Wilderness push, but radical senators and congressmen from other states do, and they will again introduce the bill for consideration come January. Now before you cry yourself to sleep tonight know this, there is hope, and there are things we can do stop this from occurring.
Our ability to prevent the otherwise inevitable and intervene will wholly depend on you and the choices you make. Government hasn't been very effective at representing you lately, nor are we convinced that without serious prodding will they help us much on the issue of Wilderness. This is where USA-ALL and our partners come into play. We carry a big stick, and we know how to prod elected representatives. USA-ALL will vow to fight on your behalf to the best of our ability. We have successfully beat pro-wilderness clowns in court, on the field, and in the halls of congress before. We can do it again.
If you want us to stop these broad Wilderness designations it is imperative that ALL of you join our organization and unite with us in defending our home and our way of life. By joining with us we join your voice with thousands of others against harmful wilderness designations, and possibly in support of other areas that may be a good place to preserve as Wilderness. We aren't completely closed to the idea of some Wilderness. But certainly not over 9 million acres of it. As a member of USA-ALL we keep you posted on all the important happenings regarding your ability to enjoy public land in Utah, chances to make a difference by volunteering, and tips on how, when, and why to contact elected or government officials. We work on your behalf everyday, and advocate for your interests to all. We hope you will sense the urgency of the looming issues, choose to join our organization, and give us the opportunity to serve you. If not us please join another organization that better represents you and will work to make our shared world a better place.
Click here to visit the Utah Shared Access Alliance