Tom Smart, Deseret News
Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, speaks during a news conference to address the education crisis Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, at the Capitol in Salt Lake City.
What we have in Utah is not just a park, but an international treasure. —Sen. Jim Dabakis

SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, is calling on his colleagues on Utah's Capitol Hill to urge Congress and President Barack Obama to enact immediate protections for the state's Greater Canyonlands area.

Dubakis hosted a news conference Tuesday and was joined by Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Salt Lake City, the House sponsor of a joint resolution calling for protections.

SJR10 cites the pristine nature of the Greater Canyonlands region and its value as an undeveloped recreational spot for generations to come. The resolution also touts the infusion of money that outdoor recreation generates for the state — $5.8 billion annually — and the important role Canyonlands National Park plays in that equation.

Dabakis said his measure enjoys broad support from all corners, including hikers, cyclists, offroaders, hunters, business leaders and environmental advocates.

"What we have in Utah is not just a park, but an international treasure," he said.

Dabakis is asking residents to be co-sponsors of the resolution by learning more about the effort at

Utah's political landscape is dominated by conservative Republicans, many of whom contend the federal government already has too much control of land in the state and are resistant to any move that would set aside additional acreage.

Amy Joi O'Donoghue

Twitter: amyjoi16