To the editor:
The Deseret News March 4 editorial correctly dissected some of the pending BLM wilderness legislative issues.We had hoped for a more cooperative initial effort from all of the members of Utah's delegation. Because there is so much symbolism attached to wilderness, it is virtually impossible and, in fact, deleterious to remove all of the adversarial discussions. But a much greater effort is needed to eliminate the inflexible positions from all of the various interests.
That is where the Utah delegation could play a significant role if it were united, as the Deseret News suggests. While we are supportive of the introduction of any legislation, since that is the only way to engage the needed discussion, we urge the Utah delegation to pursue the process of investigating specific areas, holding numerous town meetings and pursuing the input of all of us living in Utah. Any slighted parties can scuttle the entire process. Most members of Utah's delegation seem to understand this.
There is nothing magic about a 5 million acre, the UWA 3.8 million acre or BLM's 1.9 million acre proposal. They represent positions. The focus should not be to keep the acreage of wilderness as small or large as possible. What counts is protecting large integral wildernesses, while seeking to resolve legitimate concerns through a consensus process.
But that is not achievable if a "no wilderness" position is held by some participants. We believe this is possible and urge congressman Owens and the other members of the Utah delegation to seek that positive result.
Utah Wilderness Association