Things are finally looking up a bit for the 9-million acre proposal to conserve some of Utah’s finest BLM canyonlands-

This bill has been wandering the wilderness for a long time, but now a supporter chairs the important House committee — Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz. The finally got a hearing. Odds against are long because Congress rarely passes wilderness legislation against the wishes of a state’s congressional delegation. However, consider Utah’s delegation . . . 4 noisy Republicans against everything the majority party proposes and one bluedog Democrat.

Passing this bill would teach them the merits of comity and compromise. I think Utah political leaders need to relearn the virtues of moderation.

After 20 years, Red Rock bill gets first hearing in Congress. Wilderness » Legislation to get first committee hearing. By Matt Canham. The Salt Lake Tribune.

The primary moving force behind this bill for all these years has been the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA)

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

5 Responses to Utah: After 20 years, Red Rock Wilderness bill gets first hearing in Congress

  1. matt bullard says:

    “Passing this bill would teach them the merits of comity and compromise. I think Utah political leaders need to relearn the virtues of moderation.”

    Whoa, Ralph, that’s crazy-talk! 😉 Sorry, could not resist (but I’m not sure relearn is the appropriate term as it suggests they once knew it). I’m heading back into lurk mode…

  2. monty says:

    Has anyone ever asked these Utah politicians what their “vision” is for the “management” of the sublime Red Rock desert lands? How much land degradation are they willing to support?

  3. jdubya says:

    Their vision is based upon usage. Oil and gas, coal mines, grazing down to the dirt, ATV access in every nook and cranny, etc. Hikers are a limited, elite few and do not really count. Wildlife is important, but only if the chain gang can get in there with their D9’s and kick off the scrub to allow for feed for yet more deer, elk and antelope.

    Land that is not used is wasted. And our politicians hate to waste land.

  4. ds says:

    Are you serious? You think it would be a good idea to pass legislation that millions of people oppose just to teach some politicians a lesson about compromise? That is ridiculous. Those politicians are doing what we elected them to do: represent the views and interests of the people of Utah. There are a lot better ways to teach a politician a lesson.

  5. Duane says:

    Well, if this bill doesn’t pass, everyone loses. Southern Utah’s landscape is unique, and without protection of some form, future generations will regret it.

    That having been said, I think there should be some land set aside for offroading and ATV-ing, and perhaps even some oil and gas exploration. But considering the uniqueness of southern Utah’s geography, the wilderness ethic should rise above the rest.


September 2009


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey