Last week, federal, state and Emery County government leaders announced a community dialogue process designed to explore the question as to whether the San Rafael Swell should be designated a national monument.
Ensuring that the landscapes along with scientific and historic resources of the region are protected and enjoyed represents a central issue in the matter, according to United States Bureau of Land Management Utah director Sally Wisely.
Gov. Mike Leavitt and Emery commissioners Ira Hatch, Drew Sitterud and Randy Johnson joined Wisely to co-host a public meeting in Castle Dale to explain the information and feedback program government officials have crafted to solicit input.
"The San Rafael Swell is an extraordinary treasure deserving appropriate and conscientious stewardship," said Leavitt. "I encourage residents to voice their concerns, give suggestions and get involved in this historic collaborative opportunity."
Johnson has been involved in prior efforts to gain special designation for San Rafael Swell.
"Monument designation is an open question best answered through active, constructive dialogue among those who know and care about this very special place," said Johnson.
The joint information process, explained Wisely, is in response to a presidential directive to U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton requesting information relevant to determining if national monument designation is warranted.
"It's great to be working shoulder to shoulder with state and county partners on this process. By combining efforts, we will be able to reach out farther and accomplish more than any one of us could going it alone," said Wisely.
To facilitate open dialogue, representatives from federal, state and county government have developed a multi-faceted program to elicit discussion and common sense problem solving.
An information web site, resource symposium and field tours highlight the educational component of the program. The activities will be followed by opportunities for the public to offer comments and perspectives. Workshops are planned in October to gather input and preferences for future management of the Swell.
Feedback will also be sought via a random sample public opinion survey. The BLM will compile an inventory of the known scientific, cultural and historic resources in the area. The entire study is expected to take approximately six months to complete.
For more information, Carbon residents may contact the Utah BLM office at 801-539-4021 or visit the San Rafael Swell website at www.ut.blm.gov/sanrafaciswell.