It is an exciting time to be a conservationist. Of course, there are still plenty of uphill, grassy and rocky battles, but now is a time to be more optimistic than ever. Just this year we are celebrating the 50th anniversary year of the Wilderness Act, a new Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, and the pending expansion of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, and no doubt more to come. Recent successes have stirred more and more local and national support for protection of our public lands. Next on the list? Utah.
Last week, fourteen U.S. Senators signed a letter to President Obama calling on him to use the Antiquities Act to protect the Greater Canyonlands in southern Utah. The Senators represent 13 states and more than 100 million Americans. National, regional and local communities have been working to expand Canyonlands National Park ever since it was established in 1964. As noted in the letter:
“Greater Canyonlands … provid(es) habitat for seven threatened and endangered species. Four rivers flow there-the Colorado, the Green, the San Rafael and the Dirty Devil, this watershed serves wildlife as well as 30 million Americans in seven states. It is a lifeline in the increasingly arid West.”