The Conservation Alliance has funded work by Earthjustice and Southern Utah Wilderness Association in their efforts to protect roughly three million acres of spectacular, wilderness-quality public lands in Utah's red rock country from destructive oil and gas drilling and off-road vehicle use.
This week, the United States District Court for the District of Utah struck down significant parts of the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM's) Resource Management Plan and halted a Bush-era management scheme that prioritized motorized recreation over all else. The plan developed by BLM threatened world-renown southern Utah wilderness landscapes like the Dirty Devil Canyon complex (including Butch Cassidy's infamous hideout, Robber's Roost), the Henry Mountains (the last mountain range to be mapped in the lower 48 states) and Factory Butte. See photos here.
U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball ruled the Bureau of Land Management failed to minimize the impacts of motorized use on the land and its resources and to inventory archaeological sites as required by federal law.
"It's a new day for Utah's Red Rock country," said Heidi McIntosh of Earthjustice. "This far-reaching decision means BLM can no longer dismiss the value of wilderness, scenery, wildlife, and areas of cultural importance to Native Americans in favor of destructive ORV use."
Photo: Ray Bloxham