Utah Rep. Howard Nielson, R-Utah, says the Bureau of Land Management Advisory Council is starting to see the light about multiple-use policies for public lands, following a tour of southern Utah.

Nineteen members of the advisory group earlier this month spent several days touring the area and discussing public-lands issues and policies.As a result of the visit, Nielson said, the group passed a resolution "urging the Secretary of the Interior to give substantial weight to the views of local residents most directly affected by its land-use planning decisions."

The resolution, he said also, would give "disproportionate weight" to the opinions of local residents "when the land-use planning decision will cause an adverse economic impact to local residents."

Nielson said he has long been a proponent of the multiple-use concept, and has opposed restrictive land use policies.

"The group saw that southern Utah residents are concerned about BLM policies that may restrict uses of public lands, and thereby hinder their economic well-being, he said.

"At one point the group was met by a bus load of school students demonstrating in support of multiple use," Nielson said. "These are issues that mean economic survival for many southern Utahns."