The success of the public lands package makes one thing clear: Public lands matter to Americans, especially Utah’s public lands. With this battle won, another is just beginning.
Last week, Gov. Gary Herbert released a petition to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to create a Utah-specific roadless rule, which would exempt the state from the federal Roadless Area Conservation Rule that has rigorously protected four million acres of Utah’s national forest lands since 2001.13 comments on this story
It appears that the governor did not get the hint from Congress that Utah’s public lands are worth protecting, as undermining the protection of roadless areas encourages more destructive road building and logging in some of Utah’s most untouched and remote forests. Utahns rely on these lands for clean water, carbon sinks and wildlife habitat for over 74 percent of Utah’s sensitive species. The same values attract visitors from around the world to visit Utah, bringing in $7.91 billion from out of state in 2017.
Had Herbert meaningfully engaged the public while creating this petition, he would know this petition is another threat to Utah’s unsurpassable public land.