Top 10 most threatened wilderness treasures in Utah

Published: Saturday, Dec. 11 2010 11:38 p.m. MST

Steve Baker, Deseret News
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South Bend, IN

Wow! Lots of "According to SUWA" Since when does SUWA who has a membership primarily of people who visit these areas once a year if that get to decide what should be allowed and is a threat. Sure voice your opinions but don't pretend SUWA is an unbiased authority on the issue.

Draper, UT

Oh no off road vehicles are taking over the world!!! Please can't someone stop these psychos who drive all over our natural beauties? Please Federal Government come save us from our own stupidity!!!

I'm so tired of the SUWA and others acting like the sky is falling when people actually go and enjoy the nature that surrounds us.

Fredonia, Arizona

This should be in the Opinion section and signed by the SUWA legal or fund-raising committee. Without any opportunity for the BLM to respond to these allegations, it certainly shouldn't be considered news or objective journalism. At least you did preface nearly all purported information by "according to SUWA."

Jim B
Pleasant Grove, Utah

I am so tired of the SUWA. The only thing that would make them happy would be for everybody to stay home with the lights out and the heat off to protect the wilderness that no one is allowed to see.

Santa Ana, CA

Vegetation damage? On sand dunes? Is there any unpaved place on the planet where environmental extremists would think it permissible to ride an ATV?
I'm all for preserving our beautiful environment, but there needs to be a sensible balance.

Upson Downs
Sandy, UT

What shame that only SUWA is allowed by this reporter and this newspaper to contribute to this article. SUWA will not be satisfied until all outdoor recreation areas in Utah are off limits to anyone but hikers. How selfish is this on SUWA's part. Most of SUWA's members NEVER go to these locations and yet they want to shut everyone out. Is that what this newspaper really is trying to do? What about all the responsible OHV users that do protect the land. Why weren't any of those people interviewed? BIAS and SUWA's ignorance of the facts.

Layton, UT

The wilderness in Utah is facing a huge threat all right - from SUWA! If they get their way our beautiful wilderness, which is PUBLIC LAND will be permanently CLOSED so that no one will be able to visit. Most of it is so remote that it's impossible to go there on foot. The only way in is by SUV or ATV.

What's the point of protecting the land if no one can go there? Who are we protecting it for, our children that will only be able to look at it in pictures? That's the same as making it PRIVATE land with a no trespassing sign on it.

Environmentalists are not people who get out and really enjoy the land. They simply want to sit at home and have a warm fuzzy feeling that they did something good. But there's nothing good about this. You've been fooled.

Holladay, UT

TripleCrown in Santa Ana, CA says:
...there needs to be a sensible balance.

Seeing that only 18% of the 2.5 million acres of BLM in Carbon and Emery counties is closed to OHV use, I'd have to agree, although I suspect that it's not the way you expect.

OHV use is exclusive of all other recreational uses of the land. People, like me, backpack onto the land for peace and solitude not to hear all day and night whining of trail machines. Also, the land is useful as wilderness even if you never set foot on it.

Please BLM be reasonable and close more land to OHV use.

Mike W
Syracuse, UT

Agree w/OpenToDiscussion, I've hiked thousands of miles in Utah and had numerous encounters with ATV riders that have given me little respect for them. Most don't seem to be seeking a wilderness experience as much as an alcohol drinking, high speed, often gun-toting wild west type of experience. Thankfully we have wilderness areas where we can go and avoid this crowd, but we need more.

high desert
Hurricane, ut

This is simply another "manufactured" plea for a cause to "protect" in order to solicite more donations and another chance to file a Federal lawsuit in order to get their lawyers paid. In each of the places shown in these glossy pictures, there is neither a "threat" nor a "treasure". These pictures represent a small snapshot of the total area that suwa wants to exclude everyone else from. Just another example of the "some utahns whining again" crowd trying to seem relevant.

Cedar City, UT

Yee-haw! Strip mine everything and pave it all over! That'll bring some good low wage jobs for awhile and show theM dang liberals!

Torrey, UT

What a complete oxymoron. In the article they state-""according to SUWA, off-road vehicles are now driving in places in the area not previously accessed, including canyon rims, stream beds and overgrown mining trails." Over grown mining trails? Not previously accessed? The "wilderness" country they are talking about has all been explored and mined for uranium. They took bulldozers and cut roads all over these areas. And now they don't want a 300 pound atv on these "old roads" that have "not previously been accessed because they are going to ruin it's wilderness qualities? It's all about power and control folks and they are using your tax money to take that which is rightfully yours. Thank God our ancestors didn't have to deal with SUWA or we would all be speaking German or Japanese right now...And the amazing point is they mined uranium and cut logs out of these so called "wilderness areas" and they are still pristine. There are millions of acres out there that you wouldn't dream of getting an atv into-go hike and have a wilderness experience there.

Bozeman, MT

Regardless of which side of the issue you're on, you probably agree that CedarMesa is a special place, worthy of some protection. That doesn't mean leaving it wide open for ORV travel, nor does it mean closing it off to all but the most hardy foot travelers. Establishing a couple more ORV roads isn't going to impair the experience for most people. I just wish the people who do use ORVs would stay on established roads, and quit riding over middens and other surface sites. Yes, I'm from Montana, but I spend more time on Cedar Mesa than many 'locals' do and I've seen the damage first-hand from irresponsible ORV use over the last 28 years. You don't need a GPS, just follow the ORV tracks to the nearest site. There has to be some responsibility taken now by all who visit this place, or groups like SUWA get involved and try to close it off. How about a code of ethics among ORV users to preserve this experience for your (our) grandchildren - so all can enjoy it for years to come?

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