For over two decades, Emery County, Utah has fine-tuned this broadly supported public lands legislation, which resolves longstanding questions about federal land management in the region and brings desired certainty to a broad range of local, conservationist, recreationist, and scientific stakeholders. Co-lead by Senator Orrin Hatch and Representative John Curtis, this bill is a model for how Utahns can work together to solve public land management questions in some of the most unique areas of the country. After years of input and stakeholder engagement, this bill resolves a number of access and permitted-use issues, while establishing nearly one-million acres of permanent conservation—via wilderness designations, a national monument, and a National Conservation Area.
This legislation is:
– Locally-driven by Emery County and local stakeholders;
– Drafted using legislative precedent and previously passed laws, particularly P.L. 111-11;
– Brings an uncommon coalition of stakeholders to the table, including conservation organizations, motorized recreation, non-motorized recreation, local officials and governments, the State of Utah, the Congressional delegation, and many more.
– Establishes a conservation area to protect the recreational, cultural, historical, educational, natural, scenic and wildlife resources of the San Rafael Swell region;
– Converts over 97% of Wilderness Study Areas into Wilderness, with a net increase of wilderness level protection of over 140,000 acres;
– Exchanges nearly 100,000 acres of Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) land to help fund Utah’s schools;
– Empowers Utah State Parks to manage areas in critical need of improved management surrounding Goblin Valley State Park via a Recreation & Public Purposes agreement.
Conservation by the numbers:
– Current Wilderness Study Areas: 436,643 acres;
– Wilderness (after SITLA exchange): 577,986 acres;
– National Conservation Area (after SITLA exchange): 383,380 acres;
– Jurassic National Monument: 2,543 acres;
– Utah State Parks Expansion (by Recreation and Public Purpose): 9,350 acres;
– County Recreation and Public Purpose (4 separate): 2,852 acres;
– Will help create or expand the Sheriff’s Office, Airport, Information Center, and Recreation Area
– Designates 54 miles of Wild and Scenic River.