I have never been to southern Utah. My only experience with Utah has been to SLC and some areas around the Wasatch but I’ve been to plenty of other public lands (local, state, and federal) and what happened yesterday is sickening. When shit hit the fan on election day 2016 I knew we were in for it with the environment and public lands, not to mention so many other things we’ve been watching go down during the last year. It’s sickening, enraging, frustrating, and all around awful.
And I keep wondering when the insanity will end but I can only hope 2018 brings some mid-term elections to Congress that will balance the power dynamic out until we can get to 2020. As much as I can’t stand 45, I don’t want President Pence either.
I spent a lot of time in the early GWB years frustrated and upset with the continued push for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and pissed off about all sorts of bad environmental laws or non-laws during his administration. During part of that time I was working for a tribal government so I was often around federal government employees and you could see the switch in policy and demeanor when Obama was elected. It was like everyone was finally able to you know, protect the environment. And now, it seems we’ve plunged to even lower levels of environmental concern than in the GWB era.
Living in the second largest state in the United States, we have a pretty abysmal public lands to surface area ratio. We’ve got a couple of big national parks out west that take an entire day to reach for the majority of the state’s population and some great national forests on the eastern side of the state. Of course in between all of that are some state parks and state owned lands like wildlife management areas, but they are few and far between in the grand scheme of things. Even those wildlife management areas are actually pretty difficult to find and access compared to Florida’s wildlife management areas. When we lived in Florida we frequented many wildlife management areas to hike and explore, but here in Texas? Much harder to get public maps, find anything out about trails, muchless even access because they are largely there for hunters and not hikers so there are a lot more access closures during hunting seasons. Even clicking the link about getting a permit to visit just sends you to hunter permits.
I’ve seen several state parks here transferred to other entities like county or regional agencies. So, I can’t imagine if we chopped off our federal lands and let the states take care of them that the states would either a: have the funding to take care of them or b: don’t care about those lands and would sell them off to developers of varying entities. Sure, some of them might be protected to some small extent, but in reality? Come on, we all know what would happen.
Honestly, I’m at a loss for words and I’m just tired of the same damn, greedy game that keeps being played.
*Note: Regarding the first image, I realize that we could easily go back to 1492 and talk about actual stolen land from the people who were occupying this continent at that time but that’s a different conversation.*