Dear County Council,

I own a small business with three employees (who are paid living wages), with a variety of clients in the greater Moab area. A large majority of my clients and their businesses depend, directly or indirectly, on our diverse recreational opportunities, clean air and open vistas that make Moab famous to make a living. The interests of my clients and their businesses are diverse and include both motorized and non-motorized recreation outfitters, guides and shops; retail businesses; real estate developers, hoteliers and owners of small lodging establishments of all types; and conservation/ education organizations. My clients desire balanced protection of our public lands – conservation and wilderness designations where appropriate and recreational opportunity where reasonable.

I appreciate the county council’s efforts over the last three months to host open and inclusive workshops to revise the county’s recommendations on the Bishop public lands initiative. The county published public notices regarding the workshops and invited all entities interested in presenting maps and information for consideration to the county council. In response, the oil and gas industry, motorized recreation groups, nonmotorized recreation groups, watershed groups and environmental groups all had an equal opportunity to participate.

The council’s resulting recommendations include a balance of open ORV routes, surface and nonsurface drilling on Big Flat, wilderness protection, recreational area designations and watershed protection.

The county council members, especially Lynn Jackson, Chris Baird and Liz Tubbs, as well as county residents, have invested an incredible amount of time and effort in this deliberative process. It is impossible to make everyone happy, but the compromises incorporated by the county into the final recommendations are reasonable and protect our unique and strong recreation economy, which is vital to Moab’s future.

I commend the county council for a job well done.