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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
National Monuments are confusing because they aren't all the same. They differ in which federal agency manages each monument and which specific public uses are allowed. The designation of these monuments has been highly controversial ever since President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed the Jackson Hole National Monument back in 1943 and a lot of Utah folks are still fuming over the Escalante Grand Staircase designation.

Since the recent Mountain Accord process has been somewhat less than productive for all but the ski resorts, an alternative has been proposed by Save Our Canyons: The Wasatch National Monument.

SOC is asking for the hunting/fishing stakeholders to support their proposal. So I'm curious how y'all feel about it.
 

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This is one of those things that I can see the frustration that leads to these kind of efforts. I making my living do environmental studies, and I've done work for most land management agencies in the mountain west. Seeing efforts that start out well meaning - the idea of collaboration with everyone involved reflect the same kind of posturing that has ground the entire nation to a halt.

For example, the counties demand to participate in the planning process, as they should and have every legal right to do. But they want to fight whether or not the Feds should even be in their county instead of working any kind of planning solution. And then the environmental groups see all the world going to heck and want it to stop, and will sue if they don't get their way, which they have every legal right to do. But the end result is that nothing gets done in the "collaborative" process. And any more, the agencies taxed with managing those resources are backed into a corner of doing nothing other than avoiding law suits. And in the mean time, the resources suffer because instead of the agency folks out monitoring whatever they have promised to monitor to make the resources better. But instead, they are busy defending law suits, and working extra hours just to avoid them in the first place.

And the end result, are all the teams that were invited to the "collaboration" table take their ball and go home to plot the end-around play to get what they want. And that is how I see this. A similar effort is afoot in my backyard here in Idaho for the proposed "Caldera National Monument" at Island Park.

I hate these end-around solutions. I hate hate hate them. But I also see how the web of environmental laws and multiple use mandates have wrapped management so much around the axle, that nothing can move any more.

As for specifics about the proposed Wasatch NM - I really don't see a need for a monument designation. Salt Lake County has more designated wilderness (as a percentage of total land in county) than any other county in Utah. EVERY management prescription that is being advocated can be accomplished through the Forest Plan if people will let it. I personally think that National Monument designation should follow the intent of the Antiquities Act, and be used to protect areas of national importance. Much as I love the Wasatch Front (it's been my home for half my life), I don't see the resources nationally significant. The canyons on the Wasatch are beautiful, amazing, wonderful places. But they are not nationally significant. I can find canyons just as beautiful, amazing, and wonderful in most every state in this great country.

Finn is right - national monuments are whatever Congress or the President say they are. There is no set management. But more than anything, they represent a selfish perspective to circumvent the opinions of others in the management of lands. And I'm opposed to that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the input, GaryFish. Really surprised only 4 people want to weigh in on this, especially given the number of hunters who seem upset over Snowbird in American Fork canyon.

Still, hunters need an arrow in the quiver for this. As much power as the downhill ski industry has on the Wasatch front, it's nothing compared to the influence of the energy industry elsewhere in the state. While we cannot oppose energy development, or downhill skiing for that matter, I see no reason for us to sacrifice areas of concern. (Book Cliffs)

Maybe what we need here is a new federal designation. BLM currently uses "best uses" as the foundation for their management plans. So if the best use of an area is grazing, for example, then grazing is the priority and any other use that threatens grazing is curtailed accordingly.

So why not designate hunting and fishing as "best use"? Grazing, logging, mining, energy development would all be allowed in such an area provided those activities did not interfere with wildlife objectives and management plans (along with access) to those designated areas?
 

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I understand what Gary is saying, but the Wasatch NM idea did not just come out of thin air. You have to go back several years and take a lot of other things into account. The first is Matheson's Wilderness bill to get this area designated as a wilderness. As a hunter this would have been a plus because hunting is recognized as a use under wilderness, unlike national monuments where it can be excluded.

The local population was for the designation, and as a water shed, it was the right thing to do.

Now enter Skilink, a proposal to sell a strip of FS land to connect two pieces of private land(to Talisker a Canadian company). This effort was backed by Bishop, a guy that supposedly favors local control. This was in opposition to the FS, and the majority of local stake holders. If this sale went through, it would cut off hundreds of contiguous acres from the wilderness proposal area. And it would lock the public out of those hundreds of acres through the sale of 40(very long and narrow strip of land). This effectively cuts the acreage required to get wilderness designation down making that impossible. More proof that Bishop's "Grand Bargain" is all a wolf in sheep's clothing. He is more than willing to usurp local control and interest to Washington if it supports his agenda, while crying foul if anyone else should suggest doing the same.

With Skilink a possibility, and Matheson(the only hunter we had) gone. The prospects of a wilderness designation were non existent. So the idea of the Wasatch NM was born. I favor a wilderness designation for obvious reasons, but that's not a possibility at this point. With local peoples wishes, and their local representation held hostage by outside interests, this was the natural progression of things.

As hunters it comes down to development of the area which will reduce hunting and access. Or a NM, that could preserve access, but possibly reduce hunting. Before the NM proposal ever saw the light of day, my contribution was to add language preserving hunting as a continued use of the area. If the NM is to happen, and you want to see hunting maintained as a part of these in the future, then you need to make sure that the preservation of hunting language is a part of this NM.

If you look at Brown's canyon in CO where they obtained NM designation you see the same thing. Local interests wanted wilderness(led by hunters), but national level meddlers prevented it. Their only choice was a watered down NM designation.

And the central Wasatch is a national draw, and becoming more so. I read about people coming to hike and backpack there all the time, this includes international visitors as well.

An email I received the other day:

"Hi Josh

I'd like to buy one of your ****** set-ups if you have one available to ship. I have a trip mid August in Utah I'd like to bring it on.

Everything I'ive bought from you works great, *******, ******* (just used in the Wasatch last week!!, and the ******* (lots of miles on them..)
(I tried that massdrop but there not available.) Let me know.

Thanks
Trevor

TREVOR ******
619-***-9377
[email protected]*******.COM

***** INC.
27** Main Street
San Diego, Ca. 92113"

This guy comes from San Diego several times a year to backpack in Utah. And that includes the central Wasatch. I know of people from all over Europe and Japan that come to the Wasatch as well.

Utah has no idea what it has going for itself. And its not even that we are greedy and don't want to share, I could get down with that. We want to sell it off to the lowest bidder.
 

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I think you are making my point exactly Tree. Several other ideas were considered in the collaborative process, the players changed, and no one could agree. So instead of getting any kind of workable solution through just amending the Forest Plan, then the next of MANY steps is to jump to Monument. The needs/wants/desires of hunters can very easily be met with decisions made in the Forest Plan, without any kind of designation. But getting a Presidential proclamation for a monument, even from a President that isn't too loved in the great Beehive State, is easier than getting the directly impacted parties to agree on some kind of amenable solution. And that is REALLY sad.
 

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I'm just pointing out the pragmatic reality of the situation. The Forest Service plan has been Usurped. Within the Forest Service plan was a cap on the expansion of the ski resorts, which they had agreed to, in return for concessions. With Skilink being forced by Bishop at a federal level, the Forest Service plan and the associated agrreements became null and void, and the needs/wants/desires of hunters were trampled by outside intervention from Washington DC, whether that be Bishop or Obama. I'm not a huge fan of Obama on several levels, but this is not Clinton and the Grand Staircase. The locals are asking for this to be done. There was agreement, amongst all local interests directly impacted by this, and it was done under the Forest Service plan. What you are saying should have been done, was done, it was settled policy. Outside Washington DC intervention changed all of that after the fact. And at this point, should this happen(the NM), then hunters need to make sure their interests are represented, rather than cry about it after the fact. I've made my voice heard on this, many orgs that claim to represent hunters, have declined to offer anything, even after being asked for input.
 

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Sounds pretty typical. I'm sure we could spend many hours around a campfire swapping stories of this same kind of thing. I worked one analysis project that extended from El Paso to San Diego, and involved I don't know how many jurisdictions, tribes, three states, dozens of agencies, etc... We developed our analysis and solution and McCain simply said "no, we are doing this...." and tossed it all aside.

I worked another project in Alaska -.......
I worked another project in Why-Homing.......
...Utah.....
...Colorado......
... Nevada........

So it goes.
 

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Like I said, I get what you were saying, I've seen it.

My first choice was certainly not a NM, but that's how some of these go, not all, but some.
 

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Out my new back door, in Island Park, a group is chasing for a Caldera National Monument that'll stretch pretty much from Ashton to West, and border YNP. Their main push is really to get rid of cattle, and allow bison to establish. Nothing more. Nothing less. It clearly isn't gaining any support from any county commissions, or even the Henry's Fork Foundation, or the Nature Conservancy, or even the Island Park Chamber of Commerce. It is an interesting fight to be sure. Getting rid of all hunting is also part of the agenda. A very tough sell in Eastern Idaho for sure.

Just sitting here in the back row for the Wasatch deal though - there will come a time in the not too distant future - say, inside 20 years, where there will be no big game hunting allowed at all on the Wasatch Front, or at least in the major canyons - Mill Creek, Big & Little CW, American Fork, Provo. Ski industry is just too dang big, vocal, rich, and out number hunters about 20-1 right now, and 100-1 by 2035. Until I see "Hunt Utah" on every license plate, we'll know who is driving the outdoors management on the Wasatch Front.
 

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Out my new back door, in Island Park, a group is chasing for a Caldera National Monument that'll stretch pretty much from Ashton to West, and border YNP. Their main push is really to get rid of cattle, and allow bison to establish. Nothing more. Nothing less. It clearly isn't gaining any support from any county commissions, or even the Henry's Fork Foundation, or the Nature Conservancy, or even the Island Park Chamber of Commerce. It is an interesting fight to be sure. Getting rid of all hunting is also part of the agenda. A very tough sell in Eastern Idaho for sure.

Just sitting here in the back row for the Wasatch deal though - there will come a time in the not too distant future - say, inside 20 years, where there will be no big game hunting allowed at all on the Wasatch Front, or at least in the major canyons - Mill Creek, Big & Little CW, American Fork, Provo. Ski industry is just too dang big, vocal, rich, and out number hunters about 20-1 right now, and 100-1 by 2035. Until I see "Hunt Utah" on every license plate, we'll know who is driving the outdoors management on the Wasatch Front.
The Ski Industry is actually part of the Real Estate industry, that's what Ski resorts are all about, selling and driving the price on Real Estate. They are not part of the Outdoor recreation industry. I have a unique view on this being in the outdoor recreation/hunting/fishing industry, while also doing work for ski resorts and ski lift manufactures. My brother has been in that industry going on 20 years. The Skilink issue has been interesting :mrgreen: When I lobby against Skilink, I'm actively lobbying against my own pocket book, in a major sort of way.

As for hunting on the Wasatch, the language is there to preserve a large majority of it, but hunters as a community are going to have to do their part, which I don't see happening.

Depending on the resort they are either ardently anti hunting, or they see the money in tags and are signed up in, or leasing their land out as CWMU. I've been fortunate enough to hunt several ski areas over the years, and I'm working on another one.

Bison: They need a place outside of the park, but that does not sound like a solution.
 

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This thread was the first I've heard of this proposal and as a cabin owner in Big Cottonwood canyon, it could affect us a great deal. Thanks to all for the good discussion so far.

A few random thoughts.

1. The political problem I see with (any) NM designation right now in Utah is that our congressional delegation, the political party in power in Utah, and a large segment of Utahns are dead set against any more such designations here. Now I realize that Salt Lake County is a liberal bastion and many of the true locals would favor it, but the "R"s statewide would pitch a fit. While it is true that Obama (or Clinton) could do this by executive order, I suspect that the President would rather expend such political bullets with greater yield, by first declaring tracts like the Greater Canyonlands or the San Juan area as NM's.

2. I think with regards to hunting in the areas in question, that the anti hunting pressure becomes offset by the nuisance factor that game animals cause in developed areas in deer habitat. Just like urban deer, they are cute until they eat all of Marges rosebushes or a buck gores the family Shih Tzu. That tends to turn the mayor into Ted Nugent. Hunting will likely be different than it is now, but it doesn't necessarily mean it will disappear altogether. Thus, I do agree that hunters and fishermen should take an active role in the discussion. As Lonetree said, I don't think that has happened much so far.

3. As for how it affects my family as property owners in the study area (and for hunting and fishing for that matter), the devil is in the details. I can't say that SOC provided a whole lot of such details, and as you guys correctly noted, National monuments can go any number of ways with the specific regulations for each designee.
 

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This thread was the first I've heard of this proposal and as a cabin owner in Big Cottonwood canyon, it could affect us a great deal. Thanks to all for the good discussion so far.

A few random thoughts.

1. The political problem I see with (any) NM designation right now in Utah is that our congressional delegation, the political party in power in Utah, and a large segment of Utahns are dead set against any more such designations here. Now I realize that Salt Lake County is a liberal bastion and many of the true locals would favor it, but the "R"s statewide would pitch a fit. While it is true that Obama (or Clinton) could do this by executive order, I suspect that the President would rather expend such political bullets with greater yield, by first declaring tracts like the Greater Canyonlands or the San Juan area as NM's.

2. I think with regards to hunting in the areas in question, that the anti hunting pressure becomes offset by the nuisance factor that game animals cause in developed areas in deer habitat. Just like urban deer, they are cute until they eat all of Marges rosebushes or a buck gores the family Shih Tzu. That tends to turn the mayor into Ted Nugent. Hunting will likely be different than it is now, but it doesn't necessarily mean it will disappear altogether. Thus, I do agree that hunters and fishermen should take an active role in the discussion. As Lonetree said, I don't think that has happened much so far.

3. As for how it affects my family as property owners in the study area (and for hunting and fishing for that matter), the devil is in the details. I can't say that SOC provided a whole lot of such details, and as you guys correctly noted, National monuments can go any number of ways with the specific regulations for each designee.
I can't speak for SOC specifically, but Carl Fisher has reached out to me on the hunting thing, and I've been to meetings where Metcalf, and representatives from Patagonia/TU, gave input early into some of this. So fishermen actually have a pretty good voice in this. There was an early effort, going back to Skilink to get hunters a voice on the Wasatch issue as well. This goes back several years. SOC has tried very hard to be clear that they want hunting, and hunters involved in this process. It is very much about inclusion, and preservation of current uses.

But so far even orgs that claim to be a voice for sportsmen, and support the NM effort, have not come out on it publicly.

Submit your comments, they genuinely want our input and inclusion in this.
 
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