To the editor:
I read with interest Joe Bauman's column on the proposed sale of state land near a wilderness study area just outside of Moab. Bauman was correctly concerned that state lands in sensitive areas need more protection.Utah's land preservation scenario is very clear and it isn't good. Legislation passed this year by the State Legislature will be of some assistance in pounding home the concepts of multiple use, but even that effort must be vastly improved.
I was mildly disappointed because Project BOLD wasn't mentioned. The only solution to the dilemma noted in Bauman's column is eliminating the 3,000-plus state land sections, many of them within proposed BLM wilderness and other environmentally sensitive areas.
One can't eliminate state lands, and under the present scenario, can't prevent the state from leasing or outright selling state lands to private interests.
Project BOLD can consolidate those lands, get them out of these important areas, and require true multiple use management of the newly-created state land blocks. Governor Matheson proposed this and now Congressman Owens has taken up the battle. Project BOLD needs broad support.
Opponents of wilderness would love to see no action on BOLD because it leaves them with this one state land issue to hang their myth-filled opposition upon.
The problem described by Bauman takes on a smaller scale when looked at in broad perspective. The solution lies in building a state policy that holds wilderness and natural systems as integral to our planning. BOLD is as substantive a first step as we can take.
Utah Wilderness Association