This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Re "Utah governor: Grand bargain and state taking fed lands 'complementary,'" (Tribune, May 22):
Utah's federal lands contain priceless natural beauty and spectacular archaeological treasures.
Under state control, preservation of these lands and public access are at risk. Assurances from Gov. Gary Herbert that state and federal interests are complementary won't change the bad idea of state control.
If you are curious how Utah might protect recreational lands (and you don't have a problem with user fees/taxes), I have a perspective from hiking trails at Wasatch Mountain State Park. With one exception, none of the park's trails meets commonly accepted standards in a national forest.
If accepted trail standards were followed in state parks, equestrian riders, hikers and mountain bikers would be able to more safely accommodate each other. Instead, encounters with skittish horses and mountain bikers enjoying an aerobic workout are complicated.
One reason for substandard trails is that there is no funding for trails; volunteers do this hard work.
Utah is not capable of managing its current state land commitments, much less a greatly expanded portfolio. Also, extracting every drop of oil and gas from public lands will not significantly reduce our dependency on either commodity.