Letter: Protected lands

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  • RBB Sandy, UT
    Aug. 23, 2014 6:12 p.m.

    Anyone who believes that the Republican party as a whole is moving to the right has not been paying attention. We have a $17,000,000,000,000 debt. The government continues to grow in virtually every area other than defense.

    While Barak Obama is the single biggest cause, George Bush, Orrin Hatch and the like, are in a close second. Bush passed the largest expansion to Medicaid and got the government mixed up with all of the banks with the bailout.

    The last time they voted to raise the debt ceiling the Republicans made no effort to even get any concessions from the Democrats. Anyone who suggests that we actually try to balance the budget is viewed as a nut-case.

    We have spent our children's future - and hopefully we will all have passed on before they realize just what a mess we have left them with.

  • Kora Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 21, 2014 3:08 p.m.

    Joey, do you even know how big the Aadirondacks are? Why should NY have the right to control that, but Utah's lands need to be controlled by the Feds?

    FT- So the Easterners deserve to control their lands at the State level, but those of us in the West do not have the equal right to do the same? The fact of the matter is this, our Founding Fathers supported greater State Control versus Federal Control. It is an undisputed fact, hence the 10th amendment, which more people and judges need to be cognizant of. Where in the Constitution does it give the Feds the right over all land within the states? Read the Federalist papers and then the Constitution and you will have a much better understanding of the original intent, which must be followed regardless of whether you like it or not.

  • joeydog farmington/davis, UT
    Aug. 21, 2014 9:16 a.m.

    Kora, every state has state parks. Even Utah has some great state parks but none of them compare in magnitude, splendor and size to our national parks. Many national parks in the west are more than just a photo opportunity. They are complete ecosystems that protect large species of plants and animals.

    If you are honest with yourself you will admit that the only reason Utah politicians want control of these lands is for oil drilling, mining and other money making activities. Obviously everyone recognizes that we need economic activity in the state. And we have it. Look at all of the oil production in the Uintah Basin.

    But there are still additional areas of land in Utah that are so unique in their visual splendor that they should receive wilderness or national park status. It would be the epitome of selfishness to defile some of these landscapes with roads, drilling rigs or mining scars and thus rob future generations of experiencing these areas in their pristine condition.

    I believe God not only created this earth to physically sustain us but also to spiritually sustain us by its glory and beauty. Wise stewardship does not always translate to making money.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Aug. 21, 2014 8:35 a.m.

    @Utahblue Devil
    Well said. Mike Richards often seems to create straw man arguments that do not pertain to the discussion at hand. No where did I or any propenents of public lands argue against private property. Utah is blessed to have a large swath of public land that has supported millions of Americans for generations with recreational experiences. Since "we the people" currently own that land we should have a say in how it is mananged. Currently, the GOP and our elected officals in Utah, oppose the majority of the people who want these public lands managed in a way that isures them for all of God's creatures today and tomorrow.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Aug. 21, 2014 5:18 a.m.

    Mr Richards... you ask "Communists and Socialists love people like you who tell us that we all own something collectively. Where is that written in the Constitution? "

    That answer is real easy, in the first three words of the preamble... where it states,

    "We the PEOPLE of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

    The US government is an agent of the people. This is one of the biggest difference in the mental state I see between conservatives and so called "liberals" Conservatives believe the US Government as a foreign body to be fought against, controlled, managed. Liberals believe the US Government to be a body that acts at the will of the people, and does the peoples work.

    This first three words are very important. They establish who is in charge. We may not like always what out government does, but as a society we are responsible for its actions - both good and bad.

  • Kora Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 20, 2014 9:13 p.m.

    The letter writer is essentially stating that tourists would not come to visit if the land was controlled by the State instead of the Federal Government. That somehow having the Federal Government as authority makes it more attractive. That the Feds increase its grandeur by some measure. The Tetons only look pretty because they are a National Park, as a state park, they would just look less beautiful, probably overnight.

    I suspect the letter writer is unaware that some of the most visited parks in the US are run by states, most notably Niagara Falls, which is NOT a National Park, but a State Park run by the State of New York. Many parks in the East are State, not National. The large Adirondacks region of Upstate NY being another example.

    So why is it okay for New York State to control Niagara Falls, but not for Utah to control Zion's? Why is land in the West so sacred that the Feds need to manage it, but these Eastern Politicians don't want the same interference in their own states? Why not turn over Niagara Falls and the Adirondacks to the Feds?

  • Pendergast Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 20, 2014 7:02 p.m.

    to Mountanman

    The Gop has moved since Reagan left office. Even a blind man could see it. Truthfully, The Democratic party has shifted too.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Aug. 20, 2014 4:18 p.m.

    Re: "Protected lands"

    It's illustrative of the intellectual poverty of environmentalism that they've cynically chosen to camouflage their radical action under the rubric of "protecting" lands, water, environment, etc.

    Protecting from who?

    The answer is, of course, from us. From anyone that has a view different from theirs.

    This torqued logic requires them to demonize, as a venal, black-hearted scoundrel, anyone that doesn't buy into their radical, tree-hugging sophistry. From whom, they assert, only enlightened, unselfish, unstained tree huggers can "protect" whatever they want to own and control. And, of course, only they get to decide what needs "protecting," and how much of what's left can be assigned to real people to meet real human needs.

    For such wild-eyed, doctrinaire radicals, there's no possible middle ground. No possible nuance. No possible discussion. And, certainly, no possible compromise.

    So, in the interest of real Utah and real America, they can only be defeated.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    Aug. 20, 2014 3:58 p.m.

    "Centrist leaning" seems a bit of an oxymoron.

  • joeydog farmington/davis, UT
    Aug. 20, 2014 3:38 p.m.

    Thank you for all of the comments to my letter. In response to those challenging my assertion that the republican party is moving to the right.... are you kidding me? Just look at the dumping of conservative Senator Bob Bennett for tea party Mike Lee. If there would have been a primary election the voters of Utah would have reelected Bob Bennett. But the minority republican caucus representatives would not allow it.

    For those wanting statistics about how Utahn's feel about public lands look at these results from a recent Colorado College Conservation in the West Poll.

    "A majority of Utah voters oppose selling some federal public lands as a way to reduce the
    nation’s budget deficit (37% support/57% oppose).
     Support for selling off public lands is further diminished when voters are presented with
    arguments on both sides of the issue. After hearing a simulation of the debate on this issue, just 26% of Utah voters support selling some public lands, while 67% oppose it."

    This is why I assert that our elected officials are not representing the feelings of the majority of Utahns.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 20, 2014 1:35 p.m.

    Too all those who pretend that any land under State control becomes a moonscape... How about Kodachrome Basin STATE Park, Millsite STATE Park, This is the place STATE Park, East Canyon STATE Park, Dead Horse Point STATE Park, Goblin Valley STATE Park, Snow Canyon STATE Park, Sand Hollow STATE Park, Anasazi Indian STATE Park, Edge of the Cedars STATE Park, Goosenecks STATE Park, Palisade, Schofield, Jordanelle, Wasatch Mt State Park, etc???

    Obviously not true...

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 20, 2014 1:11 p.m.


    Communists and Socialists love people like you who tell us that we all own something collectively. Where is that written in the Constitution? Where did individual ownership become collective ownership? Please cite the article and the section where people gave up their right of ownership to the Federal Government and where the States gave up sovereignty to to the Federal Government.

    Collective ownership is something that Lenin, Stalin and Mao were fond if, but it has nothing to do with America.

    Either you own your home or all if the people own it collectively. You can't have it both ways. Private property is a cornerstone of America, but those who want to dictate to Utah how we will allow others to use and abuse our State's lands is popular in any Democrat controlled Oval Office. Why not give away a Republican State to your Democrat friends, after all you gave away GM to Canada and to the unions. Private property meant nothing to Obana - even though millions of policemen and teachers lost their pensions so that Obama could repay his union supporters.

    Why not give away Utah? Who's going to complain, the hated Mormons?

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Aug. 20, 2014 12:27 p.m.

    @ Mike Richards
    "Twisting principles to match liberal ideas may be a fun parlor game, but it has nothing to do with the United States of America."
    It has everything to do with the United States of America. The arguments you consistenly make have been made in court and our justice system has not agreed with that pretzel, Cliven Bundy, right wing extremist,logic. It's not the goverment that owns the land, its we the people. The federal goverment manages it for all Americans. And while they have not always managed in the best way, we've seen for ourselves here in Utah, that they do a superior job to our State.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Aug. 20, 2014 12:23 p.m.

    @VST.. what it shows is that more people are choosing not to be Republican, and in young voters the number is even more wide spread in favor of independent. What it shows is more people are not aligned with the Republican platform as it stands today. Tea Partyism is resonating with older voters, but not with younger voters.

    Call it will you will, as a percentage, the numbers are shifting. The other factor is that the number of Utahans who participate in elections is also on a downward slide, meaning they are disengaging. Good for the minority who vote, bad for those who have given up on having their voice heard.

    Aug. 20, 2014 11:46 a.m.

    Letter writer Randy Hopkins asks "When will we have a governor that will be proud of our protected lands? Sorry Randy, our good Governor could care less about our protected lands just as he cares less about the thousands who are going without health care because of his inaction! Our governor talks out both sides of his mouth in an effort to pander to the far right and protect his political interests!

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 20, 2014 11:36 a.m.


    The reason we keep electing Republicans is... they're not as "fringe right" as you pretend they are. And most people know that.

    There are some "fringe right" people in Utah Government. But your assertion that ALL Republicans are "fringe right" doesn't fly with most people who don't see everything as radically as you do, or as black-or-white as you do.

    Some people think you could turn control of SOME of the land (not... not ALL federal land) to the State.. and it could still be protected, and it would NOT immediately turn into a moonscape. Yes... some actually believe that.


    Nobody's suggesting they turn Zion National Park over to the State. Nobody's insisting that ALL Federal land in Utah be turned over to the State (including all National Parks)... That's just your radical all-or-nothing mind-set at work.

    They are actually talking about less radical changes than you pretend in your letter. Nobody wants to take over Zion NP, OR turn it into a moonscape.

    Now.. if we could talk about what is actually being proposed (instead of your strawman).. we may be able to get somewhere.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 20, 2014 11:35 a.m.

    There are those who tell us that "big brother" owns land inside Utah. They reject the fundamental concept of our Constitution - we the people, not, we the servants of big government.

    Utah is one State of fifty in our federation of States. The Constitution allows this federation to act as one in certain things. Sharing land within a State is not one of those "things".

    Unless you reject the foundation upon which the Constitution is based, you cannot claim that Washington "owns" Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, New Mexico or any other State where the Federal Government claims ownership. States are sovereign. They are not appendages to the United State (singular). Clinton claimed differently. Obama claims differently. Those who reject the concept of a federation of states claim differently. Just because they claim differently doesn't make it so any more than claiming that Obama governs us makes it so. Twisting principles to match liberal ideas may be a fun parlor game, but it has nothing to do with the United States of America.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Aug. 20, 2014 11:08 a.m.

    @VST - The fact of the matter is that by voter registration the percentage of voters in Utah that are Republican is sliding - but still the majority. The fastest growing group? Independents. They don't want to be Republican, but hey don't want to be Democrats either. They now constitute 1 in 4 Utah voters.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Aug. 20, 2014 10:25 a.m.

    @ Spangs. My comment was about the author's assertion that the GOP has drifted right and not one word did I say about the amount of public lands in Utah. If your dislike my "expansive views" I suggest you just don't read them. As far as public lands, Idaho has more government designated wilderness lands than any state outside Alaska.

  • All American Herriman, UT
    Aug. 20, 2014 10:11 a.m.

    Randy Hopkins: "Most residents of Utah are much more centrist leaning than adhering to the dogma of the fringe right." Really? And how do you know how "most" Utahns think or believe?

  • All American Herriman, UT
    Aug. 20, 2014 10:06 a.m.

    @Irony Guy: "Art. 1:8 does NOT say the US cannot own land except as provided. It only grants Congress "exclusive legislative authority" over certain lands purchased from the states."

    Are you saying that the Fed Govt "purchased" the land in the states that are now national parks and monuments? I don't think any money was exchanged. I think you should have worded your comment differently.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Aug. 20, 2014 9:43 a.m.

    Mike Richards reads the Constitution wrong.

    Art. 1:8 does NOT say the US cannot own land except as provided. It only grants Congress "exclusive legislative authority" over certain lands purchased from the states.
    Art. 4:3 clearly says the US has the exclusive authority to "dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations" regarding the property belonging to the US, including that to which it has clear right and title.

    Any constitutional lawyer will tell you the same thing.

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    Aug. 20, 2014 9:42 a.m.

    @ Mike: Article I, Section 8 states that Congress has sole legislative authority over the District of Columbia, "the Seat of the Government of the United States[.]"

    Nowhere in the Constitution does it say the Federal Government cannot own any other land. As a matter of fact, Aricle IV, Section 3 states, "The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State[,]" which clearly implies the ability of the Federal Government to own land.

    As a side note, if the Federal Government cannot own land, the Louisiana Purchase and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildago would be unconstitutional and the land contained in those areas would still belong to France and Mexico respectively. Utah would not be part of the US in that case, mi amigo.

  • Spangs Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 20, 2014 9:38 a.m.

    I find it telling that the great majority of comments lambasting this letter to the Editor come from Idaho. Places with expansive worldviews, like Hayden Lake. Truth is, the vast majority of Utahns think that federal lands in Utah are not an issue worth spending a minute on. This is a Tea-Party base issue and is a symbolic gesture, nothing else.

    Regarding which party has moved left or right, it's not even an argument.
    The only way in which the Democratic party left old white men is when they stopped supporting overt racism in the South.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Aug. 20, 2014 9:33 a.m.

    @GaryO - it is rare that I would disagree with much of what you have to say, but honestly, in this neck of the woods we have a good number of "conservative" churches (non-lds) that have huge outreach programs both locally and globally. I work with numerous people who spend part of their family vacation going an "missions" to foreign lands to work with kids in need. I personally work in a sports program where the director is a die hard republican that extends at his own cost opportunities for kids without means a way to play competitive sports.

    So I think it is an over generalization that Republicans don't give. I think what you might find though is those that do give don't go around wearing their party affiliation on their sleeve or so self proclaiming themselves patriots. They are simply people regardless of party responding to needs they see.

    The same goes with my friends who hunt. The appreciate the public lands they use, and don't want them spoiled either. Many are conservatives, some not. But they also want to see wild lands preserved.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Aug. 20, 2014 8:54 a.m.

    Hey Thinkin' Man -

    “Those who have been paying attention for decades realize that past Democrat presidents like Kennedy would today be Republicans.”

    That’s nonsense.

    Republicans love one of Kennedy’s quotes, but they take it completely out of context.

    “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

    Kennedy was referring to the Peace Corps and VISTA, government programs he advocated, and the need for volunteers.

    How many “Conservatives” are going to volunteer for VISTA and work for free, helping inner-city minorities? How many “Conservatives” are going to volunteer for the Peace Corps and go overseas working for free, helping the natives build an irrigation system.

    American “Conservatives” don’t do that.

    Many American “Conservatives” even resent paying their taxes, because they might provide aid to an American family in need.

    There is NO WAY JFK would be a Republican today.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Aug. 20, 2014 8:54 a.m.

    BO will sign legislation protecting significant amount of America's public lands by the end of his term. The overwhelming majority of Americans and Utahns want that and were blessed to have a leader who will serve the people.

  • watchman Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 20, 2014 8:51 a.m.

    How narrow can this thinking be? Is the land going to completely dissappear because of a change in ownership?

    Even though, the present proposal does not include a change in stewardship of national park land.

  • Thinkin\' Man Rexburg, ID
    Aug. 20, 2014 8:32 a.m.

    The only ones who think the Republican party is becoming more radical are those who just started paying attention to politics. Those who have been paying attention for decades realize that past Democrat presidents like Kennedy would today be Republicans.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 20, 2014 7:43 a.m.

    Let's leave the Alinsky epithets out of letters to the editor. Republicans in Utah elected other Republicans to represent them. Utahns have every right to vote for whomever they wish.

    Utah is a State. It is not owned by the Federal Government. The Federal Government is prohibited from owning any land greater in area than ten miles square except for forts, magazines, arsenals, docks and land upon which federal buildings stand. (Article 1, Section 8)

    The citizens of Utah are entitled to ALL the land in Utah, either jointly, or as land owners, if they have purchased the land from the State.

    Utah land is not held in common with citizens of other states, unless they have a deed to that property. We do no own New York's Central Park in common with the citizens of New York. We are a federation of states, not counties of the United State (singular).

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Aug. 20, 2014 7:36 a.m.

    I seriously doubt the Republican party has moved much at all either in Utah or anywhere else. Perhaps its seem so to Randy because the Democratic party has veered so far to the left leaving a huge cultural, economic and ideological chasm. My late father used to say, "I never left the Democratic party, they left me."

  • Utefan60 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 20, 2014 7:30 a.m.

    A very well reasoned letter. Thanks DN for publishing a well thought out letter!

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    Aug. 20, 2014 7:30 a.m.

    Two separate issues brought out here.

    First, the complaint that any old Republcan Tea Party candidate is automatically elected in Utah. Well, duh! When the dominant religion makes it the business of said religion to use its coercive clout on its membership. That is what you get.

    Secondly, why should the administration pay any attention to Utah anyway? They don't vote for him.

  • Michael Matthews Omaha, NE
    Aug. 20, 2014 5:29 a.m.


    Utah already has so many protected lands, that you've likely reached a law of diminishing returns point. How many national forests, public land, etc does one area need? There may be other "local" reasons to be supportive of the federal gov't taking more land and setting it aside for national parks. But... tourism seems to me to be less of a reason than it used to be.