Events of the past few weeks should make the County Council conclude that they are out of step. Readers of the Sun News (January 22, 2013) know that the Council unanimously and precipitously wrote a letter to the President of the United States opposing a proposal by the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) for a Greater Canyonlands National Monument. The Council didn’t bother to have a public meeting or attempt in any way to determine whether the citizens of Grand County “unanimously” agreed with their position.
Then, an OIA leader, REI chief Sally Jewell was nominated by the President to be Secretary of the Department of Interior. And in Utah, Senator Jim Dabakis introduced a resolution SJR 010 to protect that very area — not by outright designation of a Monument, but by “asking State legislators to begin, with the US Congress and the President, an open and transparent process to protect Greater Canyonlands.” Dabakis was actually able to have the resolution heard in Committee, which decided to held the proposal for study during the Legislature’s next Interim Session. Clearly, the public will have further opportunity to express opinions on best ways to protect this unique area for outdoor recreation and, indeed, for all public uses and purposes. A recent poll demonstrated that large majorities of Westerners including Utahns support protection of public lands for recreation, even above mineral extraction.
Council take notice: An open and transparent process. A novel idea?
Jean Binyon, Moab