Struggle Over Utah's San Rafael Swell: Wilderness, National Conservation Areas, and National Monuments
The vast public lands of the American West are being transformed today, not geologically but conceptually. A century ago, visitors to western public lands were likely to be ranchers or miners. Today, the lands are popular destinations for campers, hikers, rock climbers, river runners, artists, and off-road-vehicle enthusiasts. These new visitors have proved to be a challenge for managers of public lands, in particular the federal Bureau of Land Management. Perhaps no area has been more affected by changing users and shifting policies than the San Rafael Swell, a million-acre expanse in southeastern Utah. In this insightful and useful book, Jeffrey Durrant follows the trail of decisions and events that have had—and continue to have—a transformative impact on this ancient land.
In detailing political and environmental squabbles over the San Rafael Swell, Durrant illuminates issues that confront land managers, bureaucrats, and elected officials throughout the country. He describes struggles between county commissioners and environmental activists, conflicts over water rights, proposals that repeatedly fail to gain government approval, and political posturings. Caught in the crossfire, and often overwhelmed, the Bureau of Land Management has seen its long-time mission—once centered on grazing and mining rights—transmogrify into a new and, to some, unsettling responsibility for recreation and preservation.
The sandstone crags and twisting valleys of the San Rafael Swell present a formidable landscape, but as this book clearly shows, the political landscape may be even more daunting, strewn with bureaucratic boulders and embedded with fixed positions on the functions and values of public land.
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List of Illustrations vii
Mapping and Remapping Public Land Wilderness
The Metamorphosis of National Conservation Areas
h Expanding the Realm of National Monuments
Contesting Roads and Rivers
The Meaning of Public Land
This Land Is My Land
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Alaska Antiquities Act Arizona ATVs bill BLM land BLM National Monuments BLM Wilderness BLM's Bruce Babbitt Bureau of Land California desert Castle Dale chapter Colorado Congress congressional created efforts Emery County environmental groups federal land FLPMA Grand Staircase-Escalante National grazing Heritage hiking historical impact involved King Range Landscape Conservation maps ment million acres mining Mormon Muddy Creek multiple multiple-use National Conservation Area National Monument National Park NCA designation ness NLCS numerous political President public land public land issues public land management Public Lands Council Rafael Swell NCA ranchers Randy Johnson re-inventory recreation restrictive roads rock San Rafael River San Rafael Swell Sandstone Scenic Rivers Staircase-Escalante National Monument struggle SUWA Swasey tion trail Utah Wilderness Alliance Utah's Utahns vehicle routes Wash water rights West Wild and Scenic Wilderness Act Wilderness Areas Wilderness Coalition Wilderness Inventory Wilderness review Wilderness Study Areas wildlife WSAs