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Letter to the Editor: Get involved

By LOWELL BRAXTON
Salt Lake City

Editor:

As the steward of lands belonging to every American, the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) mission is to "sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations." Exactly how the BLM intends to fulfill that mission over the next 20 plus years will have direct effects on the future of Utah's rural communities.

That "vision" is being determined right now as the BLM works to update the Price Resource Management Plan (RMP), which determine public lands uses, including grazing, hunting, off road vehicle recreation, mining, and energy development.

Because the future of our community is at stake, citizens should be aware of efforts by diverse groups, many funded primarily by out of state dollars, to severely restrict the productive use of our public lands. These groups want to shut off hundreds of thousands of acres to economic development, putting at risk our rural economy. Continued access to public lands means jobs and economic health for our rural areas.

Multiple uses such as recreation, energy development, and ranching help protect our rural economy and improve the economic viability of the community so that our children are not forced to leave the community for job opportunities in Salt Lake City or Denver.

Public participation in the RMPs ensures that land use decisions reflect the public's values. Because the RMPs are very lengthy (the Price RMP is over 1,100 pages long), the public tends to be averse to participating in the process, leaving a vacuum lawyers for environmental groups are only too happy to fill.

We cannot allow these out-of-state special interests to decide the future of rural Utah. The extent to which the Price RMP will affect life in rural Utah for the next quarter century cannot be overstated. Get informed, get involved, get organized. If you don't help create rural Utah's future in its relation to public lands, someone else will.

I strongly urge all Utahns who are concerned for the future of our rural communities to send a message to the BLM (UT_Price_Comments@blm.gov) and tell them to select Alternative D to ensure that our public lands remain open to responsible economic development. The deadline for public comment is December 13th.







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