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Tag Archives: wilderness

Zinke Recommends Revising Bears Ears National Monument

bears ears

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has recommended President Trump and Congress “revise the existing boundaries” of Bears Ears National Monument.

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New West Daily Roundup for Aug. 5, 2016

Bozeman

Today in New West news: developing Bozeman’s skyline, Utah senators propose mountain bikes in the wilderness, and wild horses in Wyoming.

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New West Daily Roundup for Mar. 14, 2016

Today in New West news: Scalia’s death and Utah’s prospects for a federal land lawsuit, Colorado-based energy company warns creditors to accept “the reality of low oil prices,” and district judge upholds Montana PSC order for solar and wind projects.

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New West Daily Roundup for Jan. 15, 2016

Downtown Denver

Today in New West news: Chipotle to close all stores February 8 for E. coli meetings, tensions mount over expanding Yellowstone bison territory, and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game mistakenly collars wolves during an elk-collaring project.

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Reflections on Wilderness and Mountain Biking

I’ve had debates with mountain bike supporters over the question of whether bikes and, by extension, other wheeled vehicles, should be permitted in designated wilderness. The mountain bike crowd feels their activity should be allowed in wilderness areas. Many mountain bikers oppose any wilderness that does not permit biking and/or at least if designation closes a trail that mountain bikers have come to use. Since by definition of the Wilderness Act, mechanical access is prohibited, any lands designated under the 1964 Wilderness Act is automatically off limits to mountain biking. There are many reasons to exclude mountain bikes from wilderness--not the least is that recreation is not the prime reason for wilderness designation.

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Ominbus Wilderness Bill Likely

During the last session of Congress many wilderness and park bills were reported out of committee, but have not yet been voted on by the entire legislative body. Many of these bills will protect important wildlands across the country. And the recent election of many anti-wilderness legislators means that if these bills are not passed in the Lame Duck session coming up, these wildlands may not garner protection for a long time into the future.

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Tester’s Response Poor Strategy

If Senator Tester and the timber industry really want to enact legislation that will expedite logging of Montana’s national forests, they are the ones that have an uphill battle. In fact, they could not pass such legislation without at least the tacit support of the Montana’s and Nation’s environmental community. It is the wilderness proponents who hold the cards for passage of any legislation that will change the laws and regulations regarding how logging occurs on national forest lands.

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Environmentalists, Opponents Going for End-Zones in Utah

It would be difficult to avoid football analogies at this point in the game. The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) has been moving the ball down the field one running play at a time. Their next play may put them in the end-zone. Their opponents in state government, meanwhile, are tossing Hail-Mary passes, with the inevitable possibility of interception.

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Commentary on William Cronon’s “The Trouble With Wilderness” essay

William Cronon was recently featured in Ken Burn's documentary on the National Parks. Cronon is a well known historian but his knowledge of the conservation movement context is limited in my view. Cronon is part of new post modern movement that critiques the conservation movement as imperialistic or trivial--only concerned with setting aside places to hike. However, he appears to miss many important contextual aspects of the debate. Below is a critique of his essay "The Trouble With Wilderness" where he outlines many of his concerns. I originally wrote this critique shortly after his essay appeared in Uncommon Ground, but I feel after viewing Burn's movie it is still relevant to the larger wilderness debate today. Cronon's original essay can be viewed here.

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Wilderness: The Next Step

A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) crowing about its victory with the Omnibus lands bill. “Future generations,” read the e-mail, “will be grateful as they splash through narrows in Doc’s Pass, watch a desert tortoise in Beaver Dam Wash or gaze open-mouthed at the view from Canaan Mountain.” No false modesty here: SUWA takes credit for a narrows in the earth, a life form and a spectacular view. And they presume to speak for future generations, most of whom, I’m convinced, if SUWA had its way, would not be allowed anywhere near the narrows, the pass, the wash, the turtle or the mountain.

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