Jurassic National Monument and San Rafael Swell Conservation Area

Jackson

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Has anyone heard much about this?

https://www.ksl.com/?sid=46317537&n...nal-monument-wilderness-areas-in-central-utah

Not sure what to to make of it. I'm tired of these designations putting certain areas on everyone's radar, but I guess a lot of the Swell remains fairly inaccessible regardless. I alsp can't help but wonder if there's an ulterior motive, although I do like that it involves some wilderness designations.
 

wsp_scott

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Reading that makes me even more confused about Utah politics and public lands, I thought UT politicians hated Wilderness and Monument designations or at least that is the impression following the Bear Ears fiasco :)
 

ramblinman

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"The bill also would transfer nearly 100,000 acres to the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration. The agency manages the various parcels of state-owned lands throughout Utah as part of a trust to support various institutions in the state, including public schools."

That's why they are supporting it, they are trying to use this deal to get land back from the federal government. My understanding is that lands that are part of this state trust are used for extraction with the proceeds going to the state school system. It's hard to read the color coded map at the end of the article, but to me it looks like this proposal puts a huge chunk of the San Rafael Desert on the chopping block, opened up for mining/drilling.

Also, it's worth noting that proposed wilderness areas for the San Rafael Desert portion would all border this state owned extraction site. In other words the mineral extraction wouldn't be quarantined in some isolated area, it would be right smack in the middle of the surrounding wilderness.
 
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IntrepidXJ

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I think it's a pretty balanced bill and from what I've seen so far and I'd support it at this point.

SUWA hates it, but there's no surprise there. They have no interest in compromising at all and are basing the amount of 'wilderness lost' on their Red Rock Proposal, which is very inflated and flawed to begin with.

It looks like it basically turns the existing WSA's into true wilderness....I support that.
It looks like it makes the rest of the Swell an NCA....I support that. Certainly a better option than a National Monument IMO.
It protects existing motorized routes and doesn't allow new ones to be created....I support that.
I'm not a fan of Goblin Valley expanding, but I'm willing to make a compromise there for the rest of the bill. It's not a huge area.

As far as transferring lands to the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, it looks that that will just be a land swap of existing SITLA lands inside the new NCA and Wilderness areas for other federal lands elsewhere. That's typical in these situations and what was supposed to happen in the Bears Ears NM, too.

Don't fall for SUWA's bullshit and flawed arguments.
 

IntrepidXJ

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Reading that makes me even more confused about Utah politics and public lands, I thought UT politicians hated Wilderness and Monument designations or at least that is the impression following the Bear Ears fiasco :)

They just want to be involved in the decisions and process...not have it rammed down their throat....
 

SteveR

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Sep 22, 2016
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I'm not familiar with most of the Swell, mainly just the Goblin-WildHorse-Crack area (but plan on changing that).
Looking at the (somewhat fuzzy) map of the proposed changes with reference to the Wildhorse and Crack areas- it appears that they at least partially fall into the new state park lands. We have random camped out that way numerous times. Assuming that state park designation will mean restrictions on that- will their be any thought put into where people will go, as it is a popular camping zone? A case of win some, lose some for the greater good, if the bill results in increased protection overall?
 

Udink

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That's why they are supporting it, they are trying to use this deal to get land back from the federal government. My understanding is that lands that are part of this state trust are used for extraction with the proceeds going to the state school system. It's hard to read the color coded map at the end of the article, but to me it looks like this proposal puts a huge chunk of the San Rafael Desert on the chopping block, opened up for mining/drilling.

Also, it's worth noting that proposed wilderness areas for the San Rafael Desert portion would all border this state owned extraction site. In other words the mineral extraction wouldn't be quarantined in some isolated area, it would be right smack in the middle of the surrounding wilderness.
I think you're reading a lot in to the bill and/or map that's just not there. The state is not getting "land back from the federal government," they're exchanging existing state lands within the new NCA and wilderness areas for federal lands that are NOT currently in an NCA, ACEC, or wilderness area. Environmentalists should see this as a huge gain, since the state can currently do whatever it wants with its own trust lands, but this will essentially shift those state trust lands outside of wilderness or other sensitive lands.

I can't tell which part of the San Rafael Desert you're referring to that is "on the chopping block." Part of the San Rafael Desert gets included in the NCA, other parts get designated wilderness. None of it will be newly opened up to mining/drilling (any more than it already is right now).
 

Udink

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I'm not familiar with most of the Swell, mainly just the Goblin-WildHorse-Crack area (but plan on changing that).
Looking at the (somewhat fuzzy) map of the proposed changes with reference to the Wildhorse and Crack areas- it appears that they at least partially fall into the new state park lands. We have random camped out that way numerous times. Assuming that state park designation will mean restrictions on that- will their be any thought put into where people will go, as it is a popular camping zone? A case of win some, lose some for the greater good, if the bill results in increased protection overall?
It basically looks like the state will gain control over nearly all the lands surrounding the San Rafael Reef and accompanying wilderness area, all the way from Temple Mountain to Muddy Creek. I really hate this idea. Here's what I predict will happen:
  • Almost all existing free, primitive camping will go away. The state will install fences and concrete fire rings and suddenly it'll be $15/night to camp anywhere in the region.
  • A fee will be charged for hiking (or maybe just parking near) Little Wild Horse Canyon and probably Bell, Ding, Dang, Crack, and Chute.
  • The crowds will be forced onto other nearby BLM lands due to the reduced camping opportunities in the newly expanded state park.
I don't really see this as having much benefit to the land or the general public, but the state will certainly reap the rewards.
 

ramblinman

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Aug 26, 2014
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@Udink thanks for that explanation. That certainly makes me feel better about this proposal. I think that what threw me off is that on the map the colors for the SITLA and NCA are similar shades of blue.
 
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