Reps. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, and Bill Orton, D-Utah, have scheduled forums throughout the state to discuss wilderness proposals for U.S. Bureau of Land Management areas in Utah.

"The purpose of these forums is to allow local residents and others to gain further information about proposed wilderness in their areas and to allow the congressional delegation and the governor to receive input from those who have concerns," Hansen said.He is sponsoring a bill calling for 1.4 million acres of BLM wilderness, while Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, is pushing for 5.4 million acres. Orton has not endorsed either proposal.

Orton said, "Before putting together any wilderness proposal, I want to hear from residents of every county affected. I want to make the process of designating wilderness as open as possible."

Hansen has scheduled two hearings in his district in Kanab and St. George.

The Kanab meeting is scheduled for Friday, May 24, at the Kane County Courthouse, 76 N. Main. Displays and information will be available from 4:30 to 7 p.m. A public comment forum will follow from 7 to 9 p.m.

The St. George meeting is scheduled, Saturday, May 25, at the Washington County Courthouse, 197 E. Tabernacle. Displays and information will be available from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. A public comment forum is scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m.

Oral comments for both meeting will be limited to three to five minutes each.

Hansen is also planning similar meetings in Delta and Panguitch and in Tooele, Juab and Wayne counties.

Orton has tentatively scheduled seven forums in his district - June 8, Vernal; July 20, Castle Dale; July 26, Moab; Aug. 2, Mexican Hat; Aug. 3, Blanding; Sept. 7, Salt Lake County; and Sept. 14, Provo.

Most are planned to be held in the county courthouses, but more specific information will be released closer to the meeting dates, said Orton aide Ron Crittenden. Residents can also call Orton's office in Provo for more specific information at (801) 379-2500.

All of the meetings, except the one in Blanding, will have displays and information available from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., a meeting between congressional delegation and local elected officials from 11 a.m. to noon and a public comment period will be from 1 to 3 p.m.

In Blanding, displays and information will be available from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., the elected officials' meeting will be from 11 a.m. to noon, and the public comment period will be from 1 to 3 p.m.