Last August, at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) issued a call for leadership on lands issues from Governor Gary Herbert. At this winter’s show in January, the Governor’s office responded with a new vision document for outdoor recreation.
Found here, (http://utah.gov/governor/
Though the final document did not directly reference the Greater Canyonlands Monument proposal, it provides a framework for identifying and acting on important recreational and environmental assets that deserve protection. When questioned about the absence of Greater Canyonlands at the rollout press conference, the governor underscored that the recreation vision is the vehicle to address this and other proposals. While the last such document produced by the state in 2009 was merely a report primarily on motorized and consumptive opportunities such as power boating, four wheeling and golf, the new vision actually outlines a structure for preserving the lands on which the outdoor economy depends.
The current recreation vision represents a significant step in the right direction from the governor’s office, acknowledging the importance of federal lands resources and programs such as the Land Water Conservation Fund and the Recreational Trails Program – a far cry from the absurd notion that Utah is just months away from assuming ownership and management authority over Utah’s public lands. Representatives from outdoor gear manufactures, the OIA and the governor’s environmental adviser, Alan Matheson, deserve credit for a taking the leap forward this new vision represents.
But the framework is still just a framework after all; it will take continued pressure from the industry, recreation and environmental communities to ensure that action manifests from the vision. ~ Tim Peterson
Current news stories on Utah’s Outdoor Recreation Vision:
Antimony Creek wilderness photo above by Tim Peterson