This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
As an avid hiker in Utah's red rock wilderness, I've walked in dozens of wilderness study areas and have never encountered a "maintained" stockman's pond, road or mine which, under the Wilderness Act, would prevent wilderness designation anyway.
Alan Peterson is obviously misinformed ("SUWA's lax standards," Forum, Aug. 17). Peterson should travel the Interstate 70 corridor between Grand Junction and Rifle, Colo., where energy development in the Roan Cliffs have made public access virtually impossible.
Rather than whine about how terrible wilderness study areas are, Peterson ought to ride a horse or walk into these pristine areas to gain a better appreciation of why the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and millions of others are adamant about protecting the unique flora, fauna, archaeological and historical sites that reside within their boundaries.
Peterson is correct that some citizens and rural elected officials enthusiastically endorse energy development and multiple use on public lands.
However, this myopic approach to land use often belies the benefits of wilderness protection, and it certainly does nothing to protect endangered species and archaeological sites from harm by those who have little respect for the natural jewels within their own borders.