Following publicity about Gibbs Smith's plans to develop commercial and residential property in Boulder, the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance has removed him from its advisory board.
Smith, who had served on SUWA's advisory board for several years, proposes to build a trading post and other tourist-related facilities on the corner of U.S. 12 and the Burr Trail in Boulder.He also plans, with the help of the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, to subdivide a mesa south of town for residences near the new Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
After publicity about Smith's development plans, SUWA's board of directors reviewed the role of the advisory board.
As a result of that review, Smith agreed to step down, said SUWA Director Mike Matz.
Smith, who runs a publishing firm in Layton, did not return phone calls. However, in an interview in May, Smith said environmentalists' criticism was misdirected. Development in small towns such as Boulder is inevitable, he said, promising his projects will be examples of how it can be done in an environmentally compatible manner.
Environmentalists privately say Smith's plans to develop properties in Boulder were a public-relations liability for SUWA, The Salt Lake Tribune said.
Matz downplayed the significance of Smith's departure, saying that Smith, the former chairman of the Sierra Club's Utah chapter, has never been instrumental in SUWA policymaking.