Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance

Sea of signs greets Obama in Boulder

12:11 pm

What a sight!  A swarm of red rock activists greeted President Obama last week on the University of Colorado Boulder campus with a sea of bright yellow Protect Greater Canyonlands signs.  Standing several rows deep on a raised hillside with signs aloft, the group – and its enthusiasm – was impossible to miss!

Photo of the Boulder Banner Brigade taken by Gina Iannelli


With a collective yelp of frustration, however, this devoted group watched the motorcade approach and then – apparently due to a last minute surprise decision – detour around to another part of Boulder to visit a pizza parlor!  Who would have known?

Still, as many of us have learned, persistence often pays off, and it did in this case.  A few hours later, after his speech on campus, the President and his motorcade drove right past this fantastic showing of support for protecting Greater Canyonlands.  And he couldn’t have missed the message echoing from sign to sign.

Plus, two creative activists loaded their signs on to their bikes and again intercepted the motorcade on its way to the airport, reinforcing our message!  President Obama was waving and looking right out the window, and as the only demonstrators on site they were unavoidably visible.

The banner brigade also caught the eye of the media!  While they didn’t end up running an interview with Arnaud Dumont of Coloradans for Utah Wilderness, the banner brigade did get a few seconds of screen visibility in this story: http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/30946994/detail.html

A big thanks to everyone who turned out!  Great work!

This banner brigade is the fourth and largest “bannering” effort in Colorado.  Our goal is to continue showing up with our bright yellow signs whenever President Obama visits the state – which he is already scheduled to do again on May 23 in Colorado Springs.  So if you live in Colorado and would like to be on our list of potential banner brigaders, let us know: sign up by clicking here or send an email to terri@suwa.org.  It’s a great way to capture the President’s attention and have some fun!

Terri Martin

Utahns Tell Governor Herbert to Stop the War on Utah’s Wilderness

4:12 pm



About 80 people gathered at the Utah governor’s mansion today to protest a slew of anti-environmental policies, including recent threats to take over 30 million acres of public land and to sue the federal government over more than 25,000 bogus “road” claims across parks and proposed wilderness.  The jovial crowd held signs reading “Governor Herbert: Stop the War on Utah’s Wilderness” and “Keep Public Lands in Public Hands,” among others.  Honks of approval from passing cars were heard from inside the mansion, where governors from neighboring western states had been invited for an environmental strategy session.

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Protest tomorrow (Fri) at the Governor’s mansion!

2:10 pm

Join us at the Governor’s mansion on Friday — tell Governor Herbert he needs to STOP his attacks on Utah wilderness and the environment!

Tomorrow Governor Herbert is hosting several western governors at the Governor’s mansion to convince them that they should follow Utah’s example and try to take over federal lands and sell them off for private development, roads, mines and oil and gas drilling.

If you care about Utah’s wild lands and are appalled by Governor Herbert’s ongoing attempts to undermine their protection – JOIN US!

When: Noon – tomorrow (Friday, April 27) as Governor Herbert hosts four western governors to tout his anti-environmental policies

Where: The Governor’s Mansion, 603 East South Temple

What: Protest Governor Herbert’s anti-environmental policies and bring a sign (we’ll have some for folks too)

Governor Herbert has declared war on Utah’s environment with multiple attacks including:

  • threatening to take over 30 million acres of our public land
  • pushing for destructive tar sands development
  • suing the United States over 25,000 bogus road claims
  • pushing new ski development in the Wasatch Mountains
  • ignoring Salt Lake City’s air quality problems
  • blocking new wilderness protection
  • endorsing Rio Tinto’s mine expansion
  • helping his friends put a coal mine next to Bryce Canyon National Park

Please join us tomorrow at noon and make your voice heard!  You can RSVP by clicking here.

Deeda Seed

Dark road ahead

1:29 pm

Close your eyes and picture a highway. It’s probably paved and graded, a corridor for station wagons and minivans. It has a shoulder, lanes, a speed limit. In short, it looks nothing like this:

RS2477 claim in Capitol Reef National Park

But to Gov. Gary Herbert and the State of Utah, this beautiful rocky channel in Capitol Reef National Park is a road—one of more than 25,000 phantom “roads” the state announced it will sue over in an attempt to gain a foothold on Utah’s remote and beautiful federal lands and make inroads to subverting future wilderness designations.

Don’t let Utah commit this highway robbery!

Utah and several counties justify this madness with “R.S. 2477,” an 1866 law stating “[t]he right of way for the construction of highways across public lands, not reserved for public uses, is hereby granted.” That made sense in the homesteading era but the statute has outlived its purpose, and Congress repealed it in 1976 subject to valid existing rights.

Please, help us stop the land grab!

But Congress couldn’t imagine that this gully in Capitol Reef—and the thousands of cow paths, old seismic lines, dry stream beds and one-man joyride trails like it in the suit—would be the kind of claim that would follow. Utah is brazen in its bogus claims: Mark Ward, an attorney for the counties involved in the suit, blustered that all the “roads” in the lawsuit are “decades old, legitimate and well-established public transportation routes on which a broad cross section of Utahns and Americans depend for access, law enforcement, recreation, resource use and resource preservation.”

Really? A broad cross section of rabbits, lizards, and deer may well use these routes, but Utahns are certainly not using them to take their kids to school. This suit is not about transportation—it’s about barring protection of our magnificent federal lands for the benefit of extractive industry, developers and off-road vehicles, and once that happens, these lands are gone for good. Please help us stop Herbert and the State of Utah today!

Heidi McIntosh

Into the Canyonlands: Dead Horse Point

7:15 am

One of the most iconic overlooks in all of southern Utah is Dead Horse Point.  But while your viewing platform is part of Dead Horse Point State Park, the spectacular scenery below is not fully protected.  Take a look at this photograph, “Dead Horse Point at Sunrise” by Glenn Randall:


The far side of the river and the canyons in the background are protected as part of Canyonlands National Park – the White Rim Trail.  The gooseneck of the Colorado River and the land to the left have been left unprotected.  What you can’t see in this photograph is that further left, potash mining is taking place – still in view from the Dead Horse Point overlook.

By protecting Greater Canyonlands, we can help assure that what the Utah State Parks website calls “breathtaking views of the canyon country of southeastern Utah” from Dead Horse Point are not further desecrated by development.  Visit www.greatercanyonlands.org and www.facebook.com/greatercanyonlands to take action to protect this magnificent place!

Jackie Feinberg