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
The Ongoing Evolution of Public Land
Mapping and Remapping Public Land Wilderness
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Antiquities Act Arizona ATVs Babbitt bill BLM land BLM National Monuments BLM Wilderness BLM’s Bruce Babbitt Bureau of Land California desert Canyon Castle Dale Colorado Congress congressional County commissioner County’s created deﬁned deﬁnition difﬁcult Emery County environmental groups federal land ﬁeld ﬁnal ﬁnd ﬁrst ﬂow FLPMA grazing hiking historical impact inﬂuence King Range Landscape Conservation large-scale Wilderness legislation maps ment million acres mining Mormon motorized Muddy Creek multiple multiple-use National Conservation Area National Monument National Park Navajo Sandstone NLCS numerous ofﬁce ofﬁcials President public land public land issues public land management Public Lands Council Rafael Swell NCA ranchers re-inventory recreation roads San Rafael River San Rafael Swell Scenic Rivers speciﬁc SUWA Swasey There’s tion Utah’s Utahns vehicle routes water rights West Wild and Scenic Wilderness Act Wilderness Areas Wilderness Coalition Wilderness designation Wilderness review Wilderness Study Areas wildlife WSAs