Salt Lake County will join neither environmentalists nor rural counties in their battle over wilderness.

County Commission chairman Brent Overson said last month that the commission will not spend any county funds to advocate or oppose wilderness proposals."We think it is illegal for us to use public monies to launch a campaign for or against what you are doing," Overson told three representatives of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.

SUWA Director Mike Matz said his organization is against use of taxpayer funds to oppose wilderness proposals.

SUWA is a member of the Utah Wilderness Coalition, an umbrella group of 155 environmental organizations pushing for 8.5 million acres to be set aside as federally protected wilderness.

Rural counties have fought wilderness proposals largely through the Utah Association of Counties.