Dear Nancy Sultley,
Southeast Utah is home to some of our nation's most prized wilderness lands and cultural resources and is well deserving of federal protection. Unfortunately, instead of working for protection of these wild landscapes a 'wilderness' proposal is being developed behind closed doors by county commissioners that will create ORV access at the expense of preserving these wild lands and the cultural resources they contain.
The San Juan Canyonlands landscape exemplified by the Glen Canyon wilderness contains by many counts, the densest number of archeological sites in the world. This cultural heritage has, and continues to be, placed at risk by off-road vehicle trails that go through archeological sites, leading to unintentional damage and intentional looting.These trails also tend to be in wet canyon bottoms where the site density is the greatest, as is the damage to rare desert riparian areas.
As a Utahn, I have a stake in this legislation as do all Americans. I hope the Obama administration will take a thoughtful approach to public lands legislation for southeast Utah, and only support legislation that provides meaningful and significant protection from ORVs and other threats for the regions cultural, wilderness and water resources, and oppose any legislation that does not.
Brynja Kohler (with help from the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.)