Parts of The Corporate Recreation Industry vs. Utah Elected Officials


We have had much discussion about “corporations” when it comes to oil and gas and timber. The situation with the Outdoor Industry Association is an another industry association lobbying, and with its own PAC. They seem to be lobbying, in this case, to get rid of the messy and seemingly interminable place-by-place public processes in land management planning for public lands. It seems to this observer that if the idea of place-based bills in Congress is bad, then the idea of unilateral “monumenting” is possibly just as or more bad. Seems to me like you should be consistent about which public process you prefer.

Here is a link to a news article.
Here is a link to the Blue Ribbon Coalition side of the story. and an excerpt below. The whole section on this by BRC is worth reading to those interested in both sides of the story. Thanks to BRC for doing a quality job on explaining their point of view.

Thanks to them for the SUWA link which says..

To protect these scenic landscapes, in March of 2011 SUWA –along with members of the Greater Canyonlands Coalition including Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Parks Conservation Association, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, and Coloradans for Utah Wilderness — made a formal request to the Secretary of the Interior requesting that Secretary Salazar bar off-road vehicle (“ORV”) use on 1,050 miles of ORV 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. The petition would leave open 1,400 miles of ORV route within the petition area, and about 13,000 miles of routes open in the four BLM field offices surrounding Greater Canyonlands.

Unfortunately, in August 2011 the Obama administration refused to host a public discussion on protecting the Greater Canyonlands region. Even worse, it claims the management plans written by the Bush administration already provide adequate protection. These are the same Bush plans that designated more than 3,000 miles of off-road vehicle trails in proposed redrock wilderness.

It seems to me that “designating trails” is different from “off trail abuse.> This could lead to fruitful dialogue, I bet, between SUWA or OIA and BRC. Now I am not a particular aficionado of OHVs myself, but it seems to be you could get a lot more off trail abuse stopped if you collaborated with folks out there, instead of trying to kick them out. But maybe that’s me, because I figure most people are reasonable. And we want our kids in the woods, and family recreation, and I see a lot of that happening with OHV’s.

Again, I wonder what wonderful things we all could do for outdoor recreation if groups weren’t going around spending energies stabbing other recreationists in the back? If a ranger can do it on a district (as described here), why can’t someone do it at the national level?

A spokesperson for Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said the state does not want to see a reprise of the 1996 designation of a 1.9 million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by President Clinton. Said Ally Isom, deputy chief of staff and spokesperson for Herbert, in a statement provided to PLN, “No one has formally approached the Governor or his office about a proposed monument in Utah. We certainly hope we don’t have another Bill Clinton approach to creating a monument. Canyonlands National Park was established by statute and any expansion ought to be rightly created by statute involving all interested parties, including Utah stakeholders.”

Utah’s Congressional Delegation was also kept in the dark regarding OIA’s proposal. They learned about it only after local media called requesting comments on OIA’s letter.

Utah’s Senator’s Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee, joined with Utah’s Congressmen Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz in a letter urging President Obama not to establish a new National Monument.
“We are opposed to efforts to create national monuments within the state of Utah by presidential decree. Federal land-use decisions must be cultivated in a collaborative process that balances various stakeholder uses and priorities.”…. “We are opposed to this petition because it flies in the face of the collaborative process outlined above. Federal land-use designations affect a wide-range of stakeholders and each group should have a seat at the table.” … “Again, we strongly urge the rejection of the most recent — and all future — petitions for national monument designations by presidential decree.”

More on this tomorrow.

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