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Palma’s legacy of balance

Juan Palma, the state director of the Bureau of Land Management, is retiring but leaving behind a great legacy best described with one word: balance.

Outdoor recreation businesses, from small companies outfitting guided trips around Moab to outdoor equipment manufacturers in Salt Lake City, depend on land managers to strike a balance between protecting recreation resources and energy development. Palma worked tirelessly to find that balance and broke ground with the Moab Master Leasing Plan.

The plan strives to protect Moab’s local economy by finding balance between oil and mining jobs and the more than $200 million in local economic activity generated from the outdoor recreation economy. Both Palma and national BLM Director Neil Kornze have done a great job forging new solutions for public lands in our state. These solutions aren’t simply the traditional “winner-take-all” but offer a “win-win” for the stakeholders. This approach is not only good for Moab but all of Utah’s $12 billion outdoor recreation economy.

We owe Juan Palma a debt of gratitude for his dedicated and thoughtful service and for protecting Utah’s economy.

Brian Merrill

Moab