ad info

CNN.com
 MAIN PAGE
 WORLD
 ASIANOW
 U.S.
 LOCAL
 POLITICS
 WEATHER
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
 TECHNOLOGY
   computing
   personal technology
   space
 NATURE
 ENTERTAINMENT
 BOOKS
 TRAVEL
 FOOD
 HEALTH
 STYLE
 IN-DEPTH

 custom news
 Headline News brief
 daily almanac
 CNN networks
 CNN programs
 on-air transcripts
 news quiz

  CNN WEB SITES:
CNN Websites
 TIME INC. SITES:
 MORE SERVICES:
 video on demand
 video archive
 audio on demand
 news email services
 free email accounts
 desktop headlines
 pointcast
 pagenet

 DISCUSSION:
 message boards
 chat
 feedback

 SITE GUIDES:
 help
 contents
 search

 FASTER ACCESS:
 europe
 japan

 WEB SERVICES:
Tech

BLM finds more Utah wilderness to declare

Mancos Mesa in southern Utah is included in the BLM's latest wilderness inventory for the state


INTERACTIVE:

Should the U.S. government declare more land protected wilderness areas?

Yes No
View Results

  

February 8, 1999
Web posted at: 2:00 PM EST

By Environmental News Network staff

(ENN) -- Efforts by Utah environmentalists to increase wilderness acreage in the state took another skip down a long trail toward fruition Friday as the Bureau of Land Manage released a new field inventory which identifies 2.6 million acres of public lands in the state that have wilderness characteristics.

Added to the 3.2 million acres of Utah public lands already designated as wilderness study areas, the total of 5.8 million acres almost matches the 5.7 million acres that has been proposed for years by environmental groups in Utah.

"We are pleased, but not surprised, that the Bureau of Land Management has confirmed our analysis of wilderness lands in southern Utah," said Pamela Pride Eaton, regional director of the Wilderness Society Four Corners States Office. "The land doesn't lie. When sound science and strict criteria are used -- whether by citizens conducting a wildlands inventory or the BLM taking a second look at their lands -- the testimony of wilderness is strong and cannot be ignored."
The Newfoundland Mountains, which rise nearly 2,000 feet out of Utah's salt flats, were included in the lastest BLM inventory. The area was eliminated from an earlier inventory because of military overflights   

The inventory, ordered by Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt in 1996, focused on lands within legislative Utah wilderness proposal H.R. 1500. The BLM inventory did not include another 3.4 million acres of land in the western desert and the southwestern corner of the state that environmentalists want classified as wilderness. In total, Utah environmental groups say 9.1 million acres in the state should be protected.

The re-inventory was spurred by a 1996 bet by Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, that Babbitt couldn't find 5 million acres in Utah with wilderness characteristics, according to a story Friday in the Deseret News, a Salt Lake City daily newspaper. Utah even went to court to block the inventory, but that block was lifted on appeal last year and the inventory went forward.

Babbitt said Friday that he has directed BLM to initiate a statewide planning effort to determine if additional wilderness study areas should be established based on the new findings. Once an area has been designated a wilderness study area it carries all of the protection of a wilderness area during the study period.

"This issue has been at a stalemate for nearly 20 years because the various interests involved are so far apart on the fundamental issue of how much public land in Utah has wilderness characteristics," said Babbitt. "We now have current, detailed information regarding on the ground conditions that will help get this issue off dead center and allow progress to be made toward ultimate resolution."

Secretary Babbitt announced the planning effort after discussing it earlier this week with Utah Governor Leavitt and members of the Utah congressional delegation.

"The BLM should be commended for starting a process to protect these newly-inventoried lands until Congress can act to give them permanent protection," said Pride Eaton. The public hearing process that will follow is expected to take about two years.

Copyright 1999, Environmental News Network, All Rights Reserved


RELATED STORIES:
Clinton to propose $450 million purchase of vulnerable land
January 12, 1999

RELATED ENN STORIES:
Policy groups clash over wilderness
Rethinking environmentalism
Protection urged for 24 more roadless areas
Wilderness Society names top ten endangered wildlands

RELATED SITES:
BLM's Utah Wilderness Inventory
New Citizen's Inventory of Utah Wilderness
Utah Wilderness
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

 LATEST HEADLINES:
SEARCH CNN.com
Enter keyword(s)   go    help

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.