This is in response to a letter to the editor you printed containing some so-called "facts" about wilderness. ("Facts Support Wilderness", Sun Advocate, December 16, 2003.)
Now, I'm no college professor or big shot professional outdoor writer, but I've lived in Carbon County all of my life and I've explored both Carbon and Emery Counties since I was a kid. I think I know a thing or two.
I know environmentalists say wilderness lands are constantly being degraded. I also know that these same environmentalists have increased their wilderness proposal by over 60 percent since the 1980's (from 5.7 to 9.1 million acres). I know you can't have it both ways. Either multiple-use destroys wilderness character or it doesn't.
I don't know how many days supply of oil and gas is on public lands, but I know that every drop is one drop we don't have to get from some foreign country over in the middle east. I know that jobs in the mining or oil and gas industry are more stable and far better paying than tourism jobs. I know that the economy of Carbon and Emery counties has, does and will continue to rely on mineral extraction and power production. I also know that the BLM is very careful not to let the coal or oil and gas folks do any permanent harm. As proven by the fact that the environmentalists continue to "find" more lands suitable for wilderness designation. Again, they can't have it both ways.
I know that many people value the roads and trails existing on public lands. I know these roads let families like mine enjoy the out of doors. I know that the environmentalists want to close most of those roads and trails to motorized use. I know that our elected representatives are working to protect your access to public lands via those same roads and trails. I know that the environmentalists really enjoy debating the definition of the word "road". They continue to go out of their way to call a road by any other name. You see that's because the existence of a road is supposed to disqualify an area from wilderness consideration. Extreme environmentalists tremble at the sound of the dreaded "r" word.
I know wilderness is valuable. I appreciate wilderness and have supported wilderness legislation sponsored by Utah's elected representatives. I also know that every time an elected official (local, state or federal) proposes a reasonable wilderness bill, the extreme environmentalists shoot it down on sight. I know that Utah would have a lot more designated wilderness today if extreme environmental groups would compromise. But, then again, the word compromising isn't in their vocabulary. In fact you can look at the mission statement of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (www.suwa.org, click About SUWA, then Mission) and see for yourself that they are proud to call themselves "un-compromising". So much for rationale people being able to work this out through compromise.
Wilderness is the most restrictive land management classification known to man. The extreme environmentalists want almost 40 percent of Utah's BLM lands to be designated as wilderness (and that doesn't count what they want on forest service lands). One thing I know for sure is, that's way too much!
I agree with Mr. Coronella on one thing...It is time for Congress to do it's job and pass a wilderness bill. Congress should pass a wildenress bill that in no way resembles SUWA's 9.1 millon acre Red Rock Wilderness Bill. But of course that would require the extremists to compromise and as we have seen them so proudly proclaim....compromise isn't an option.