Thanks to the Obama administration for returning the Bureau of Land Management`s authority to identify and manage lands with wilderness characteristics. It correctly reaffirms that America`s wild lands are treasures worth protecting.
These are the places where families can hike, camp, hunt and experience what the frontier was like. They are increasingly the only places to go for quiet, unplugged recreation.
The Bush administration`s anti-wilderness deal was ill-conceived and unpopular. Under that agreement, spectacular roadless areas like Utah`s greater canyonlands region were opened to destruction by extractive industries and off-road vehicles.
It was unconscionable.
It`s too early to evaluate the full impact of this new order, but it is a huge step forward. Conservationists like me will continue to promote full wilderness designation as the only way to permanently protect our remaining wild heritage, even as we applaud interim protection which might ensue from the new Secretarial Order.
Today, I say “hats off” to Secretary Salazar and the thousands of Americans who persuaded him to undo the harm of his predecessor.
Balance has been restored. We can once again save what`s left of our rugged American heritage. What a great gift for the holidays!
Coloradans for Utah Wilderness