I recently attended an open house in Moab that the Utah Wilderness Coalition hosted to present "The Citizens of Utah Wilderness Reinventory." I was very impressed by how hard they have worked to make this reinventory thorough and fair. Every area in the reinventory has been visited, photographed and carefully considered with respect to its wilderness suitability; all of this work has been documented and compiled so that any citizen can easily refer to it.
Some lands that qualified as wilderness in the inventory done 12 years ago no longer qualify and were thus removed from consideration. I was impressed by their not considering any new isolated areas that are not at least 10,000 acres in size because The Wilderness Act of 1964 only requires that an area be 5,000 acres or larger.What made me happiest, though, was the new emphasis that is being placed in this reinventory on the biotic health of the various ecosystems in our state. Western and northwestern Utah were looked at much more carefully this time, and their recommendations better reflect more recent thinking with respect to wildlife corridors and plant communities.
The Utah Wilderness Coalition asked for public comment on the areas that they have been looking at; I hope that many people will get involved in the conversation that this organization is initiating, because I think it is a very important one. I also hope that scientists in Utah will join in; the knowledge they have on the subject is very valuable to us right now. I think that, if we protect the health of these lands now, future generations will look back and congratulate us on how smart we were.