Resolution introduced in Utah legislature to protect Greater Canyonlands region

Aerial view of Trin-Alcove Bend, Green River, Labyrinth Canyon, Utah Photo by Tom Till

Aerial view of Trin-Alcove Bend, Green River, Labyrinth Canyon, Utah
Photo by Tom Till

JOINT RESOLUTION ON THE PROTECTION OF THE GREATER CANYONLANDS REGION

2013 GENERAL SESSION STATE OF UTAH
Chief Sponsor: Senator Jim Dabakis (D – Salt Lake City)
CITIZEN CO-SPONSORS: THE PEOPLE OF THE GREAT STATE OF UTAH

General Description:

This joint resolution of the Legislature calls on the United States Congress and the President of the United States to take action to protect the publicly-owned, world-class resources of the Greater Canyonlands region as a natural, undeveloped area for the recreational use and enjoyment for Utahns and Americans for generations to come.

Highlighted Provisions:

This resolution:

  • Requests that the United States Congress and the President of the United States take immediate action to protect the Greater Canyonlands region as a natural, pristine, and undeveloped area for enjoyment, recreation, and use of current and future generations;
  • finds the protection of this area to be in the best interest of Utahns and Americans; and
  • calls for public input and discussion on how the land should best be protected for recreational purposes.

Special Clauses:             None

Be it resolved by the Legislature of the state of Utah:

WHEREAS, Greater Canyonlands is a true national treasure, sweeping across a 1.5 million acre network of canyons and mesas filled with scientific, cultural, historic, and recreational treasures;

WHEREAS, Greater Canyonlands should be protected as a natural, undeveloped area for the recreational use and enjoyment of Utahns and Americans for generations to come;

WHEREAS, Greater Canyonlands is the largest undeveloped area of land remaining in the continental United States;

WHEREAS, Greater Canyonlands’ complex maze of gorges, plateaus, mountains, basins, natural bridges, arches, and spires rivals the Grand Canyon in importance and scale;

WHEREAS, the outdoor recreation contributes over $5.8 billion annually to Utah’s economy, provides nearly $300 million in yearly state tax revenues, and supports 65,000 Utah jobs;

WHEREAS, these numbers do not include items such as recreational vehicles, land purchases and leases, and the transportation, manufacturing, leisure, and hospitality industries;

WHEREAS, protecting the area around Canyonlands National Park will send an important message to the outdoor industry that Utah and America value their industry and contributions;

WHEREAS, 440,000 people visit Canyonlands National Park and the surrounding area each year to hike, camp, drive all-terrain vehicles, hunt, river raft, mountain bike, base jump, jeep, hang glide and dozens of other outdoor activities;

WHEREAS, the Greater Canyonlands region currently has over 2,200 miles of roads and trails and hundreds of paths and hiking trails that provide access to unparalleled natural beauty and pristine landscapes;

WHEREAS, Utah’s pioneering spirit and independence was forged in the open frontier, and Utah and its citizens have a responsibility to be good stewards of these lands and protect these experiences and our heritage for future generations;

WHEREAS, Greater Canyonlands’ remoteness has preserved historic and scientific resources beyond the national parklands and provided unmatched opportunities for research, solitude, and renewal from a largely untapped library of 12,000 years of human history, an unparalleled story of the southwestern frontier spanning from Ice Age mammoth hunters to ancestral Puebloans to pioneers, early settlers, and uranium prospectors;

WHEREAS, with isolation and good air quality, with no towns or highways crossing the region, Greater Canyonlands is one of the few places to still offer a view of stars at their clearest against an absolutely black night sky;

WHEREAS, Greater Canyonlands also secures critical watersheds along the Colorado and Green as well as the Dirty Devil and San Rafael rivers, securing a critical resource for present and future generations;

WHEREAS, Canyonlands National Park was originally envisioned to encompass the entire greater Canyonlands region and was included in proposals by the National Park Service in 1935, President Roosevelt in 1940, Interior Secretary Udall in 1961, President Johnson in 1971; and supported by Utahns and Americans ever since the park was formed;

WHEREAS, the federal government owns and manages nearly all the land found within the Greater Canyonlands region, and there are few, if any, costs required to acquire and protect the land in its entirety;

WHEREAS, such permanent protection of lands managed by the National Park Service, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Forest Service would create a model for effective cross-agency cooperation; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislature of the state of Utah requests that the United States Congress and the President of the United States take immediate action to protect the Greater Canyonlands region as a natural, pristine, and undeveloped area for enjoyment, recreation, and use of current and future generations.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislature declares the protection of Greater Canyonlands region to be in the best interest of Utahns and Americans.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislature calls for public input and discussion on how the land should best be protected for recreational purposes.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be sent to the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the United States Secretary of the Interior, Canyonlands National Park, and to the members of Utah’s congressional delegation.

Click here to view the document Canyonlands Completion from the Think Tank on Wallace Stegner and Western Lands

Click here to view a Salt Lake Tribune story on the issue

 

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