Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance

Tell Congress to protect America’s Redrock Wilderness

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Tell Congress to protect America’s redrock wilderness!

Dirty Devil proposed wilderness.  Photo by Ray Bloxham.

Over the past 29 years, there has been one major reason why protection for Utah’s redrock wilderness areas has continued to move forward: YOU.  Because of redrock activists like you, over 5 million acres of public lands in Utah now have some form of protection. But there is still more work to be done in order to ensure that Utah’s stunning redrock landscape is preserved for future generations to enjoy. America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act has stood as the ultimate vision of redrock wilderness protection since its introduction by the late Utah Rep. Wayne Owens in 1989. Throughout the years, congressional support for the bill has increased as more and more Utah wilderness supporters have asked their members of Congress to become cosponsors.  In the the last Congress, 168 representatives and 23 senators signed on to the “redrock bill.”  Now that we have begun a new Congress, we must build up that support once again. Already this year, anti-wilderness forces in Congress have begun to attack policies that could increase protection for Utah wilderness.  This is why it is so important to demonstrate broad support for America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act; the best defense against anti-wilderness attacks is a long list of senators and representatives ready and willing to speak out in support of providing longterm protection for the redrock.

Please ask your members of Congress to cosponsor America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act today!

Jackie Feinberg

Your help needed: Anti-wilderness attacks continue in Congress – Redrock Report February 2011

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February 2011

Here’s what is happening this month with the redrock:
1.  Help defend key tools for protecting wild places.
2.  Host a 127 Hours house party & educate your friends about Utah wilderness!
3.  Have you been to the Greater Canyonlands Region?  We’re looking for photos.
4.  See our “Wild Utah” presentation this March!


Some key tools safe (for now), but wild lands protections still need your help!

Last week, over 2500 redrock activists and thousands of others across the country contacted their representatives to vote NO on the House Continuing Resolution for Appropriations bill and proposed amendments that would be devastating for public lands protection.  On a long list of bad environmental provisions in the bill, the worst for the redrock was language that would block the Bureau of Land Management’s “Wild Lands” policy – before it had even been finalized!  Unfortunately, there was little to be done about this provision since it was included in the original bill text.  However, the other two major threats to the redrock either failed or were withdrawn, thanks in part to your activism!

One amendment, offered by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) and eventually withdrawn, would have defunded the National Landscape Conservation System – the department within the BLM that administers national monuments, wilderness study areas and other important conservation lands.  This would have effectively closed those places to the public since all funding for staff and management would cease.

Reps. Dean Heller (R-NV) and Raul Labrador (R-ID) offered another terrible amendment to block the use of the Antiquities Act (the bill that allowed past presidents to protect such places as Arches, Zion, and Bryce) – and fortunately this one failed on a narrow 213-209 vote.  This is a major victory for our public lands on an otherwise environmentally destructive bill.  Click here to see how your representative voted and then thank him/her if your rep. voted NO.

As we move forward next week, we’re likely to see some more action on the “Wild Lands” policy as the House Committee on Natural Resources makes it the topic of its first oversight hearing.  We’re expecting Chairmen Doc Hastings (R-WA) and Bishop to stack the decks against supporters of the policy, so we will need your help!

HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO:


1. If your rep. voted against the bad Antiquities Act amendment, please thank him/her!

2. Watch the “Wild Lands” policy hearing LIVE next Tuesday, March 1, at 2pm and comment about why it is important to protect wild places via Facebook.  You can do both at the same time on the Natural Resources Committee’s webpage!

3. Tell the Natural Resources Committee to stop their attacks on the “Wild Lands” policy using Twitter.

Host a 127 Hours House Party to spread the word about Utah wilderness

127 Hours PosterIt’s not every day that an Oscar-nominated film features the redrock canyons of southern Utah.  127 Hours does just that in its portrayal of Aron Ralston’s now famous story of getting trapped while hiking in Blue John Canyon.  If you haven’t seen the film yet, or want to watch it again, the DVD release this March is a perfect opportunity to spread the word about protecting Utah wilderness.  One of the extra features on the DVD profiles Aron’s volunteer work with SUWA and the Utah Wilderness Coalition in helping to gain support for redrock protection (work that we greatly appreciate!).

What you can do: If you host a house party to watch 127 Hours, SUWA’s grassroots team will provide you with informational materials about the Utah wilderness campaign to share with friends, as well as postcards that you and your friends can sign and mail to key decision makers.  Please email our Outreach Director Deeda Seed at deeda@suwa.org if you are interested.  Everyone who participates will be put in a drawing for a signed version of Aron’s book, Between a Rock and a Hard Place!

Calling all photographers and budding photographers!

The Greater Canyonlands region is one of the most spectacular and wildest sections of redrock canyon country.  If you’ve visited the area and have photos you are willing to share, we would love to incorporate them in an upcoming campaign.  We are looking for both landscape shots and photos of people enjoying the wilderness from either professional photographers or those of you who wish to share some images of your travels with other redrock activists.  Specifically, we are looking for photos of areas outside of and surrounding Canyonlands National Park, including places such as Upper Horseshoe Canyon, Sweetwater Reef, San Rafael River, Flat Tops, Horsetheif Point, Hatch Canyon, Lockhart Basin, Harts Point, Dead Horse Cliffs, Indian Creek, Bridger Jack Mesa, Demon’s Playground, Butler Wash, Dark Canyon, Fortknocker Canyon, and Shay Mountain.

Please send all photo submissions to Diane Kelly at photographs@suwa.org.  Sending us your photo will indicate that you give SUWA permission to post the photo on our website and our social media networks.  All photos will be properly cited when posted publicly.

See our “Wild Utah” presentation this March!

This March, see our “Wild Utah: America’s Redrock Wilderness” multimedia presentation in Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.  See the full winter/spring schedule on our website.

To host a slideshow or to recommend a hosting organization or venue, please contact:

In the East: Jackie Feinberg, jackie@suwa.org

In the Midwest: Clayton Daughenbaugh, clayton@suwa.org

In the West: Terri Martin, terri@suwa.org

TAKE ACTION: Sign the petition to protect America’s Redrock Wilderness

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House swings for the fences on public lands rollbacks…and hits a single

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Now that the dust has settled on Capitol Hill and Members of Congress are well into their President’s Day work weeks, we are beginning to get a sense of where things are heading as the Senate prepares to take up the Continuing Appropriations Resolution next week.  But first, to recap what happened last week that led to the Continuing Resolution being dubbed “one of the worst environmental bills” to ever come under consideration in Congress:

On the list of bad public lands provisions in the bill, the worst for the redrock was language that would block the Bureau of Land Management’s ‘Wild Lands’ policy – before it had even been finalized!  Unfortunately, there was little to be done about this provision since it was included in the original bill text by anti-wilderness appropriations committee chairs.  However, the other two major threats to the redrock either failed or were withdrawn.

One amendment, offered by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) and eventually withdrawn, would have defunded the National Landscape Conservation System – the department within the BLM that administers national monuments, wilderness study areas and other important conservation lands.  This would have effectively closed those places to the public since all funding for staff and management would cease.

Reps. Dean Heller (R-NV) and Raul Labrador (R-ID) offered another terrible amendment to block the use of the Antiquities Act (the bill that allowed past presidents to protect such places as Arches, Zion, and Bryce) – and fortunately this one failed on a narrow 213-209 vote.  This is a major victory for our public lands on an otherwise environmentally destructive bill.  Please see how your Member of Congress voted on the Heller amendment and if they voted “nay” (the good way), then please thank them by using our action center!

As we move forward next week, we’re likely to see some more action on the ‘Wild Lands’ policy as the House Committee on Natural Resources makes it the topic of its first oversight hearing.  We’re expecting Chairmen Doc Hastings (R-WA) and Bishop to stack the decks against supporters of the policy, so we need you to participate by watching the hearing on the committee’s website and engaging with our social media team to show widespread support for the Utah’s redrock.

Finally, as the Senate takes up Continuing Resolution, we’re glad to hear Senate leadership standing firm in their commitment to not allow any policy making on the bill (which includes the ‘Wild Lands’ policy provision), so their final product will likely look distinctly different from the House’s.  There is rampant speculation now about the coming week’s high stakes game of political chicken as funding runs out for the federal government – and we hope and will work to ensure that the ‘Wild lands’ policy is not a chip in any deals made to keep the lights on.

Utah Wilderness News, February 22, 2011

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Republicans should read “America’s Great Outdoors” report

“There was other damage the Senate must repair. One amendment would prevent the Bureau of Land Management from recommending permanent wilderness protections for public land. The president’s authority to designate new national monuments under the Antiquities Act survived by a slim margin, but some Republicans vowed to challenge that authority later this year.

In a perfect world this report would be required reading among House Republicans. Sadly, their headlong dash to weaken the nation’s environmental protections would appear to leave them little time for it.”  Editorial – The New York Times

Republican assault on Antiquities Act is ideology run amok

“Squashing the Antiquities Act, an amazingly effective conservation law that presidents from Theodore Roosevelt to George W. Bush have used to protect great American treasures, has nothing to do with getting the federal government’s fiscal house in order. The cost of studying, proposing, designating, and administering national monuments doesn’t amount to a raindrop in a hurricane.

No, Labrador’s proposal is simply reactionary ideology run amok. There is no room in such a barren view of the world for the traditional conservative ethic of saving America’s heritage–cultural and natural–to respect what our ancestors set aside for us and to inspire, educate, and enlighten future generations.”  Read more – The Green Conservative

No more national monuments?

“A stench of anti-environmental extremism hangs over the new Congress, particularly the U.S. House of Representatives.

This legislation must not pass. National forests and Bureau of Land Management lands are for compromising about, and allowing ‘job-creating activities’ that create far fewer jobs than outdoor recreation.

National parks and national monuments must remain inviolate.”  Opinion – SeattlePI

A transparent approach to designating national monuments

“Now, whether it was in reaction to that criticism, or part of the plan all along, the topic of national monuments came up often during the 51 listening sessions the administration held last year to gather input for the resulting America’s Great Outdoors report. According to that report, ‘(D)uring listening sessions, strong support was voiced for the designation of unique places as national monuments as an important way to preserve critical elements of the American landscape and cultural heritage.’”  Read more – National Parks Traveler

 

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Utah Wilderness News, February 18, 2011

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A “fat, aging man” on why he supports protecting wilderness

“Have we become so selfish and so greedy that we have to have everything right now, as cheap as possible, no matter the cost to the environment and to those who follow us? Can’t we choose to share not only the beauty of Utah’s wild places but their bounty with future generations?

I might be a fat, aging man. But I still think it’s a good idea to set aside as much wilderness as possible.”  Read more – The Salt Lake Tribune

Really, Utah counties think these are roads?

“Here’s some very brief legal background for the amusing photos which follow. A one-sentence provision of the Mining Law of 1866 (not a typo — 145 years ago) allows for the ‘right-of-way for the construction of highways across public lands.’ This statute was later renamed RS2477. In 1976 it was repealed, but the repeal was subject to valid existing rights. Just what constitutes a valid existing right in this context is open to debate, as is the extent of this right. When rural western counties realized this could be a tool for sabotaging wilderness, they took a very extreme view as to what ‘highways’ existed as a result of RS2477.”  Commentary – The Huffington Post

Who gives a crap about the opportunity for solitude?  Hey, we do!

“Denunciation of Salazar’s proposal was the overwhelming sentiment during the Club 20 meeting, which was attended by about 45 people.

Kathy Hall, a former Club 20 chairwoman, called the designation an ‘underhanded attempt to create wilderness’ by administrative action instead of by an act of Congress.

One criteria for the designation of a wild land would be the opportunity afforded for solitude and personal reflection.

‘What does that crap have to do with anything?’ rancher Harry Peroulis said.”  Read more – Grand Junction Sentinel

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