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Utah’s Red Rock Canyon
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by Chris Yoder | 2009

By Chris Yoder—We can celebrate the Omnibus Bill’s protection of critical habitat, archaeological treasures, and natural values in Utah’s Washington County, but that county is only one small corner of the most important, most fragile, and most threatened wilderness quality lands remaining in the lower 48. Millions of acres of Utah’s red rock canyonlands and basin and range plateaus remain vulnerable to ORV (off-road vehicle) vandalism, and to the blind rush to seek the last drop of oil or sniff of gas, without regard to the damage done to the irreplaceable environment that will be our generation’s legacy to the generations to come.

 

Utah’s Red Rock Canyon

 

 

By Chris Yoder—We can celebrate the Omnibus Bill’s protection of critical habitat, archaeological treasures, and natural values in Utah’s Washington County, but that county is only one small corner of the most important, most fragile, and most threatened wilderness quality lands remaining in the lower 48. Millions of acres of Utah’s red rock canyonlands and basin and range plateaus remain vulnerable to ORV (off-road vehicle) vandalism, and to the blind rush to seek the last drop of oil or sniff of gas, without regard to the damage done to the irreplaceable environment that will be our generation’s legacy to the generations to come.

There is a compromise solution that would honor our stewardship obligation to the future while satisfying the demands of the present. America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, introduced in the House by Rep. Hinchey of New York and in the Senate by Senator Durbin of Illinois, would protect 9.5 million acres of wilderness quality land. The federal government assessed the lands that would be protected as having technologically recoverable oil to satisfy only four days of our nation’s thirst for fuel and fewer than 4 weeks of natural gas consumption. ORV users would still have access to 91% of ORV routes the Bush Administration tried to impose on wilderness quality lands, while the slowly eroding archaeological treasures marking the lives of the ancient, lost civilizations of the desert southwest would enjoy increased protection.

What you can do: As of this writing, only Senator Cardin and Rep. Elijah Cummings are cosponsors of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act. You can contact your representatives and thank them for supporting the Omnibus Public Lands Act (HR 146) and, at the same time, let them know that the job is not finished. Tell them how important it is to you that America protect the fragile, unique, and irreplaceable natural lands of the Red Rock Canyon country of Utah. Ask them to contact Rep. Hinchey or Senator Durbin to find out for themselves why these lands need protection.   

 

 

 

Chris Yoder serves as Conservation Co-Chair for the Maryland Chapter.

 

 

 

 

 

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