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Protecting Utah’s wilderness

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By The Staff

“This is the most beautiful place on earth ... the canyonlands.  The slickrock desert.  The red dust and the burnt cliffs and the lonely sky.

“Under the spreading sunrise are more mesas, more canyons, league on league of red cliff and arid tablelands, extending through purple haze over the bulging curve of the planet to the ranges of Colorado-a sea of desert.  

“There is still too much to see and marvel at, the world very much alive in the bright light and wind, exultant with the fever of spring, the delight of morning ... the strangeness and wonder of existence are emphasized here, in the desert ... the extreme clarity of the desert light is equaled by the extreme individuation of desert life-forms.”  

This is how Edward Abbey described the red rock wilderness areas of southern Utah in his book “Desert Solitaire.”  

But, the Bush administration sees these areas differently – as good places to “drill, baby, drill.” In 2003 the federal Bureau of Land Management proposed opening up pristine wilderness in these areas to energy exploration.