Let Your Voice be Heard in the Fight for Utah’s Public Lands –
There is a fight going on right now between the federal government and that of the state of Utah, and it is something that should concern all of us. The Transfer of Public Lands Act threatens to capture more than 30 million acres of Utah’s public land that have been publicly owned since before the founding of our fine state.
When Utah was made a state, through The Utah Enabling Act of 1894, Utah wrote into it’s constitution that it would renounce any claim to publicly held lands forever. It reads, “[Utah] forever disclaims any interest in public lands within the state’s boundaries.” (Utah Constitution, Art. 3, Section 1, Second Clause.).
But Utah lawmakers have passed legislation demanding the government relinquish control of 31.2 million acres of it’s public land, freeing it from environmental protections and making it vulnerable to industrial and commercial exploitation. This legislation will cost Utah residents millions in tax dollars for research and litigation that could otherwise be put towards much more fruitful endeavors.
So, why does this concern you? Well, according to The Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the Eccles School of Business, in 2012 “Nonresident visitor spending of $5.3 billion benefitted the Utah economy [and] Utah’s TTR [Travel, Tourism and Recreation] industry accounts for an estimated 129,088 total jobs.“. You can bet that of the people who visited here, most came for Utah’s public lands; our national forests, parks and monuments that are so iconic to our identity as Utahns. So really, it should be of concern to everyone; tourism is a vital part of our economy.
More than the economic benefits of Utah’s public lands, think of their personal impact on your life. The lands in jeopardy are the places that most of us spent time in our youth and continue to return to. I can recall countless road trips down south as a child to enjoy true nature, to experience open spaces and wild beauty unknown to me as a city resident. To this day I return to these places to put me back in touch with both my childhood remembrances and a greater sense of belonging.
Don’t fear, not all is lost. At least not yet. Come to the Great Public Lands Gamble Rally on the steps of the State Capitol Rotunda, March 2, 2015, 4:30pm-6:00pm and join the coalition of business, education, outdoor and conservation groups in opposition to the Land Grab. We CAN make a difference!
Hope to see you there. Visit The Great Public Lands Gamble for more information.