Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) today introduced the America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, which will protect 9.2 million acres of spectacular public lands in Southern Utah, including places like Desolation and Labyrinth Canyons, the Dirty Devil River, Bitter Creek, White Canyon and the San Rafael Swell.
“These national treasures are our birthright as Americans, and are a bedrock part of who we are as a people,” Lowenthal said. “My bill will safeguard these wild and precious lands, as well as the waters, flora, and fauna within them. This is in keeping with the powerful American ethos of conservation as embodied by John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt, Olaus and Mardy Murie, Aldo Leopold and so many other champions of our great wild places.”
The wild lands of Utah are world famous for their twisting canyons and other unique geologic and biological features, and are replete with priceless archaeological sites. While Utah has some of the most pristine unprotected wilderness areas in the nation, less of these public lands have been formally designated as wilderness in Utah than in any of its neighboring Western states.
The Congressman’s bill would finally protect these important lands for future generations, while also nurturing the modern tourism economy.
“There is no denying that the world is moving toward a cleaner and greener economy. As part of this we must recognize the important role played by job creators like the $646 billion outdoor recreation economy, which employs more than 6 million people nationwide. These are the economic benefits we protect when we protect our public lands,” Congressman Lowenthal said.
Rep. Lowenthal was joined by 30 Cosponsors from 17 states throughout the country, underscoring the national importance of protecting these lands for all Americans. The bill would ensure the lands remain in their natural state for perpetuity, and would preclude destructive industrial uses such as fossil fuel extraction. Hunting, fishing, and camping are allowed in wilderness.
“Our nation is blessed with a wealth of landscapes as diverse as the people who call it home,” Congressman Lowenthal said. “It is incumbent upon each of us to ensure that our wild public lands remain wild and public from coast to coast, so that our children and grandchildren may enjoy them as we have.”
The first version of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act was introduced in 1989 by Utah Congressman Wayne Owens, after a group of Utahans submitted a proposed citizen’s inventory crafted from intensive ground research for wilderness designation. It is supported by the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Wilderness Society, and the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance in Utah.
The full list of the bill’s 30 original cosponsors:
Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Brendan F. Boyle (PA-13), Matt Cartwright (PA-17), John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13), Diana DeGette (CO-01), Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18), Dwight Evans (PA-02), Bill Foster (IL-11), Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Brenda L. Lawrence (MI-14), Daniel Lipinski (IL-03), Jerry McNerney (CA-09), Gwen Moore (WI-4), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Tim Ryan (OH-13), Jan Schakowsky (IL-9), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Eric Swalwell (CA-15), Niki Tsongas (MA-03), Tim Walz (MN-01), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Peter Welch (VT-AL), and John Yarmuth (KY-03).