Do the majority of Box Elder County residents oppose further designation of wilderness areas within the county, as Box Elder County commissioners believe?
"Don't be so sure," was the recent response from former Box Elder County resident Brad Yates, a member of the Utah Wilderness Coalition, a group working to save disappearing wilderness areas.Three new wilderness areas proposed by the Utah Wilderness Coalition in the Newfoundland Mountains and the Goose Creek and Silver Island areas of Box Elder County are currently before Congress.
According to Yates, in spite of a letter from Gov. Mike Leavitt requesting public meetings be held to discuss the issue, Box Elder County residents were not given the opportunity to state their positions. Instead the Box Elder County Commission sent a letter to the state saying it did not recommend new wilderness areas be designated within the county.
Even more upsetting to Yates is the commissioners agreeing to a Utah Association of Counties' request to contribute $500 to the Utah Wilderness Education Fund, a group which Yates says is strongly anti-wilderness.
Box Elder County Commission Chairman Lee Allen said that while the commission is not in favor of harming wild areas, as elected representatives the commission must protect the best interests of the county.