In response to a request to establish wildlife preserves in Utah that would be left to natural controls, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said Wednesday that it wouldn't move out.
Tim Provan, director of the DWR, said in an early morning press conference that such a request would be "counterproductive" to both the wildlife and users.Last year, the Utah Wilderness Association presented a wildlife management proposal identifying seven initiatives and recommendations. Later it came back with a second proposal asking for the creation of use-restricted wildlife preserves in a remote area of the Uinta Mountains and in City Creek Canyon.
Provan said the DWR has serious concerns about the plan.
"The preserve designation will do very little to enhance biodiversity or public viewing of wildlife beyond existing conditions.
"The elimination of hunting will do nothing to modify habitat, which is the key to wildlife abundance. Habitat-carrying capacity will not be altered for any species. This is a proposal for no management, which we cannot agree to."
Dick Carter, coordinator for the UWA, said he felt the DWR's decision was, in fact, "counterproductive" to what needs to be done.
"It tells the non-consumptive users that they're standing in line and that the division will get to them when it can. We're saying we want to be part of the decisionmaking. Our position may not increase habitat, but we feel it will make it cleaner. This decision shows the non-consumptive user is again being left out."
The UWA's position is that management should be pulled and the areas left to natural selection. Provan pointed out that 70 percent of the lakes in the High Uintas would not have fish if the DWR did not plant them. Carter argued that some lakes in the Uinta should be barren.
Provan also noted that there were no natural predators to game now in City Creek Canyon and that through non-management this could be detrimental to both the animals and the habitat.
He pointed out that five of the seven original initiatives "we embrace and endorse " and that the five had already been accepted or active at the time.
He also asked for continued dialog between the two groups.
Carter said his group was not abandoning the proposal and that "if it can't be done here, then we will look elsewhere . . . maybe through the state or federal legislature."
"What we want to do is expand and offer more opportunities to both hunters and non-hunters," said Provan. "We're not just going to walk away."
He pointed out, too, that between state, national and military lands, about 1 percent of the state is currently closed to hunting.
"If you take other areas that are closed, such as private lands and hunting clubs, then you have about 10 percent of the state where no hunting is allow . . . so there are preserves now.
"The Division agrees with and supports the desire for increased opportunities to observe and enjoy wildlife, and, in fact, is expanding those opportunities. It is the intent of the division to be fully cooperative in order to increase the opportunities to enjoy all facets of wildlife in such a way that no public group is unfairly restricted," he concluded.