This is an archived article that was published on in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The story "Wilderness debate: Is Utah at a turning point?" (Tribune, Aug. 26) implies that the citizens' proposal for preserving 9 million acres of Bureau of Land Management wilderness in Utah is dead. Not so fast!

Where the BLM has looked at lands mapped by the dozens of citizen volunteers who created the proposal that lies behind America's Redrock Wilderness Bill, the agency tally verifies the citizen's inventory nearly 90 percent of the time. In a 2009 poll of Utah citizens, more than 60 percent support protecting 9 million acres or more of BLM wilderness. In the Washington County Lands Bill and in the recent historic Tavaputs Plateau agreement with Bill Barrett Corp., the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance has demonstrated that conservationists can reach agreement with a variety of stakeholders.

Nothing prevents all stakeholders from passing county-by-county wilderness bills that eventually will protect all of Utah's wildlands. Nine million acres of globally significant wilderness really do remain within our public lands. Let's listen to everybody — but we can never give up on the preservation and stewardship of Utah's irreplaceable wild canyons and fragile deserts.

Stephen Trimble

Salt Lake City