It’s obvious why many born in Utah stay here, and those who come often stay: our public lands. Our state may house a number of great things that scream, “This is the place,” but none can compare to the beauty, the solace, and the life-giving qualities that silently abound in our last remaining wild lands.
The Utah delegation begs to differ. Per Gov. Gary Herbert’s request and repeated calls from Sen. Orrin Hatch, President Donald Trump is coming to Utah early December to illegally eviscerate Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. This followed a sham review made in secret by the Trump Administration’s Department of Interior. It claims that these monuments are much bigger than what the Antiquities Act allows. In reality, the Trump Administration wants “an estimated several billion tons” of coal and gas from Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and they want to strip away the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Commission’s stake in the management of Bears Ears National Monument.
Over 100,000 ancient indigenous sites, prehistoric remains, and lithic scatters are held in the land of Bears Ears National Monument. Further, this monument recognizes the inherent link between tribes and the land, as it created the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Commission to provide guidance and recommendations to United States land management agencies in stewarding the monument. To the west, incredibly preserved dinosaur fossils and more than 648 species of bees (many of them endemic to southern Utah) are at home in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
One thing is for sure — if any damage is to come to the sacred antiquities, fickle streams, grainy sandstone, and diverse vegetation, it cannot be undone.
In addition to national monument defense, The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance’s (SUWA) mission is to secure the wild’s place in Utah by defending wild public lands from fossil fuel development, safeguarding against public land ownership and management transfers, and creating wilderness designations through Congress.
You picked up this magazine because you value everything that our mountains and deserts have to offer in their natural state. It is time to stand up for wilderness and those unforgettable moments in it. SUWA is a platform for your voice and your actions to impact government, media, and community stakeholders in preserving wild lands. Take your stand by joining us.
1. Rally Against Trump’s Monumental Mistakes on Dec. 2: we need volunteers to assist with grassroots organizing and bodies to show up. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.
2. If you identify as Hispanic, Latinx, or are part of an underserved community and want your voice heard in public land access and conservation, connect with email@example.com.
3. Get in contact with our intern via firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule activities and presentations with your club, class, or other organizations you are affiliated with around campus.
Stay in the know by following us on social media, and join our action network by texting “SUWA” to 52886.
Olivia Juarez is SUWA’s Latinx Community Organizer. Connect with her online or at 801-236-3774.