The Greater Canyonlands area is a landscape of plateaus, stunning geologic formations, 10,000 year-old archeological sites, and unmatched natural beauty — including iconic Utah landmarks such as Labyrinth Canyon, Indian Creek, White Canyon, Fiddler Butte, Robbers Roost, Lockhart Basin and the Dirty Devil River.  Today, we are releasing our Petition to Protect the Greater Canyonlands, which includes 1.4 million acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands surrounding Canyonlands National Park.

To protect these scenic landscapes, the petition — a formal request to the Secretary of the Interior under the Administrative Procedure Act and the U.S. Constitution — requests that Secretary Salazar bar off-road vehicle (ORV) use on 1,050 miles of route in sensitive habitat, streams, wetlands, riparian areas, archaeological sites and other vulnerable areas until it can conduct further studies on the impacts of the activity and determine whether it is, in fact, a sustainable use.   Please join us by sending an email to Secretary Salazar in support of this petition. The petition would leave open 1,400 miles of ORV route within the petition area, and about 13,000 miles of route in the four BLM field offices surrounding Greater Canyonlands.

The petition targets damage caused by ORV use as a first step in protecting this iconic landscape.  ORV use in the area has too frequently proven unmanageable, with increasing soil erosion, noise, crushed vegetation, degraded streams, and fragmented wildlife habitat.  Those who do not use ORVs, and who comprise the vast majority of visitors to Greater Canyonlands, are finding it increasingly difficult to experience the natural quiet, solitude and beauty of the area.

Protecting Greater Canyonlands would also facilitate a complementary and consistent management approach for lands managed by the BLM, National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service. Giving heightened protection to the most valuable and vulnerable places will give these ecosystems their best chance at long-term health, especially in an era of rapidly changing climatic and environmental conditions.  Please take a moment to let Secretary Salazar know you support protection for the treasured landscape of Greater Canyonlands.

Heidi McIntosh