To the editor:
Wilderness designation is being used as a political football. People are claiming diametrically opposite results to Utah's economy depending on how much more public land is designated as wilderness. Both sides cannot be right.Designated wilderness is government land that has been placed by Congress under the management prescribed by public law 88-577, the Wilderness Act of 1964.
The regulation restricts certain types of activities. For example:
1. Camping is prohibited near lakes, streams, trails or other natural attractions.
2. Mechanical transport is prohibited. Specifically, the use of bicycles, ATVs, or other wheeled vehicles is prohibited.
3. Hunting and fishing may be prohibited if "inconsistent with the preservation of an area's wilderness character."
4. The stocking of streams with fish may be limited if the stocking is "likely to increase visitor usage."
5. The "let it burn" policy will apply to the forests; and the insect or disease outbreaks will not be controlled. Reforestation will generally be prohibited.
6. The use of motorized boats is prohibited.
7. The construction of cabins or summer camps is prohibited.
8. No facilities or improvements will be provided for the comfort or convenience of the visitor such as toilets, information signs, bridges, etc.
9. The cutting of firewood is prohibited, except for dead and down materials usable in campfires.
10. Mining and oil and gas activity will be prohibited.
11. Stock grazing may be prohibited "if shown to have an adverse impact on wilderness values."
12. Archeological and historical sites cannot be excavated, stabilized or improved. They must be left to the forces of nature.
There are many more restrictions which space does not permit to be printed.
Clearly, wilderness areas will only be usable by one group of society, backpackers. Even they may be required to obtain a permit for hiking in wilderness areas.
Every Utah citizen should be deeply concerned with efforts to designate vast areas in the state as wilderness. Certainly, a moderate amount of wilderness land is beneficial. But five million acres is totally unreasonable and economically damaging to Utah.
Utah Manufacturers Association