Dabakis Wants “Citizen Co-Sponsors” for Canyonlands Protection Bill

Feb 7, 2013

Courtesy National Park Service.

A Utah state senator is putting Congress and President Obama on notice to protect a larger area of the Greater Canyonlands region. He’s asking the Utah Legislature to pass a joint resolution requesting the feds’ “immediate action” to keep the region underdeveloped and open for recreation. Comments from the resolution’s sponsor, Senator Jim Dabakis (D-Salt Lake City).

It’s more than a National Park, it’s a treasure. That’s what a resolution just introduced in the Utah Legislature is trying to get across, asking that Congress and the President take “immediate action” to protect a much wider area of  the Greater Canyonlands region of southeast Utah. Governor Herbert’s recent push to make outdoor recreation a priority on Utah public lands wasn’t specific about what to protect or how. So, the resolution’s chief sponsor, Senator Jim Dubakis of Salt Lake City, says his bill is meant to stand on its own, but could be a part of a bigger picture.

The resolution says it’s sending an important message that Utah and America value the outdoor industry’s contributions to the economy. When asked if it could also be seen as locking up more public land, Debakis said selling off parcels for extractive industries like tar sands and potash mining is locking it up, and that protecting it is opening it up.

Debakis says he isn’t trying to rush anything through the Legislature, or through Congress. The resolution calls for public input and discussion about how the land should best be protected for recreational purposes. To that end, he’s asking for what he calls “citizen co-sponsors.”

A companion House resolution was introduced by Representative Patrice Arent of Holladay.