Dear Director of BLM,
I have just learned about the proposed management plans for 11 million acres of public land in Utah, and I am deeply distressed about the scale and scope of oil and gas development and off-road vehicle (ORV) use BLM is proposing within proposed wilderness areas.
While legislation to grant permanent protection of these precious areas is gaining bipartisan support in Congress, you are pushing forward with plans that will disturb a fragile ecosystem and sacrifice our natural and historical heritage.
At risk are roadless areas near Canyonlands, Zion and Arches National Parks, with iconic red sandstone spires, 1,000-foot cliffs, high plateaus and meandering, narrow canyons, and spectacular stretches of the Colorado, Dolores, and Green Rivers. Rock carvings in the Price district are more than a thousand years old, and the Vernal district boasts ancient cultural artifacts and dinosaur fossils.
Also at risk are critical habitats for a wide range of wildlife, and recreational activities like backpacking and rafting. BLM found the vast majority of these lands to have wilderness character, and yet is failing to protect these special areas in its proposed management plans.
I urge you to reconsider your plans for extensive drilling and ORV use in these areas, which are some of the most spectacular in the United States. The damaging nature of these activities make them wholly unsuitable for Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, Wilderness Study Areas, and other citizen-proposed wilderness lands.