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Utah Public Lands Initiative Takes Important Step Forward

October 23, 2014
Press Release
Salt Lake City—Congressman Rob Bishop (UT-01), Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert, and Daggett County Commissioners today joined representatives from the conservation, outdoor recreation, and sportsmens' community, to unveil the draft Daggett County lands proposal agreement as part of the broader Utah Public Lands Initiative. Speakers at the event also included Scott Groene- Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, John Andrews- School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, Paul Spitler-The Wilderness Society, Mike Swenson- Utah Shared Access Alliance, Tim Peterson-Grand Canyon Trust, Mark Clemons-Sierra Club, and Dave Glenn-Trout Unlimited. Utah Association of Counties Mark Ward, Marcia Argust from Pew, and Utah State Senator Kevin Van Tassell have also joined in support of the framework unveiled today at the Utah State Capitol.

"The Daggett County proposal represents an important milestone in the efforts to advance the Utah Public Lands Initiative. I commend all those who came to the table to find common sense solutions and compromises to some of the biggest challenges that have plagued public lands policy in the state for more than three decades.  The draft proposal that will be included in the final PLI legislation includes some key components such as economic development for the county, economic opportunities for SITLA, land and water conservation, increased opportunities for motorized and non-motorized recreation, and advancements for the sportsmens' community," said Congressman Bishop.

"This proposal is the result of significant negotiations and compromise on behalf of everyone involved. I'm proud that we are able to bring new opportunities for economic development to Daggett County as a result of our efforts and that was always our primary goal. Ensuring the future success and economic viability of our county remained our number one priority and this proposal reflects that," said Daggett County Commissioner Jerry Steglich.

"I'm pleased that each party involved in the proposal recognizes the importance of supporting the future economic growth of Daggett County. The ongoing uncertainty that has plagued public land use has been a challenge for Daggett County and the other counties involved in the Public Lands Initiative. The proposal introduced today is a key step forward for Daggett County. Some concerns and challenges remain but this brings a clear path forward and I'm proud to lend my support to this important initiative," said Senator Kevin Van Tassell.


Specifically, the Daggett County proposal includes the following key provisions:


· County to receive 800 acres of Forest Service land adjacent to Dutch John for a shooting range, power substation, and landfill.

· County to receive increased annual revenue from the transfer of energy revenue producing site to SITLA.

· County to benefit from SITLA-Forest Service land exchange that may facilitate development of year-round resort.

· County to cooperatively manage historic Swett and Jarvie ranches to maintain their economic value as tourist attractions.


· Large SITLA land exchange that will trade scattered and low economic value SITLA holdings for consolidated holdings that have higher revenue potential.

· Lands to be acquired by SITLA include an energy revenue producing site and Forest Service land that is sought for year-round resort development.


· Establish over 80,000 acres of wilderness on BLM and Forest Service land.

· Establishing a 30,000-acre conservation area.

· Designate a portion of the Green River as a wild and scenic river.

· Forest Service and BLM to acquire state lands within conservation and wilderness areas.


· County to receive rights on open routes on BLM land outside of proposed wilderness and conservation area.

· County and State of Utah to relinquish claims on routes within proposed wilderness and conservation area.

· Establish a process for county to apply for rights-of-way on closed routes on BLM land outside of proposed wilderness and conservation area.


· Land exchange to facilitate a homeowners association acquiring their home sites from the Forest Service.

· Facilitate the exchange or sale of the Forest Service lands containing privately-owned cabins to the cabin owners.


· Protection for important hunting habitat as a conservation area.

· Ensure that the Forest Service maintains specified campgrounds.

· Upon passage of legislation, support the reopening of the Sears Canyon route to ATV traffic and the establishment of an ATV route up Dutch John Canyon.