Governor Herbert’s recent initiative for a Utah-specific roadless rule compounds the damage from the drastic cuts to Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments by further jeopardizing the landscapes and the values they protect. Arch Canyon and Dark Canyon, previously safeguarded by the original Bears Ears National Monument, are no longer protected as a national monument, and would continue to be downgraded if Herbert’s petition is accepted by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.
Over 120,000 acres of Dixie National Forest, including Boulder Mountain, buffering the previous boundaries of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument would be completely removed from any protection, fragmenting these vulnerable landscapes. As a part of delicate and vast desert ecosystems, these parcels have been targeted to continue accommodating for industry, specifically commercial logging. These special places are unique and a big part of what makes Utah such a beautiful state.
One thing is clear: conserving public lands and their ecosystems, natural resources, and recreation opportunities is not a priority for Governor Herbert and the State of Utah. The disconnect between Utahns and our representatives is alarming. Utahns depend on forests and our public lands; we want to see them protected for future generations. On the other hand, our representatives seek to roll back protections and open them to the highest bidder. This backwards approach to managing our public lands is why the Outdoor Retailer Show left Utah. The OR show brought in millions of dollars annually and we’ll never get that back. The petition by Governor Herbert is another step in the wrong direction. The roadless rule should remain intact with its full protections.
– Tana Brown