Urgency for action on public lands!
Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order this week asking the Department of the Interior to review all National Monument designations from the past two decades with the view of reducing and undoing them. The executive order specifically mentions Bears Ears and Grand Staircase and will require Secretary Zinke to consider what steps can be taken to reduce and/or undo our National Monuments, despite the fact that a majority of Utahns support these two monuments and that there is broad support for them from across the nation.
Action Utah needs your help urgently this week and beyond to save our monuments on behalf of the majority in Utah and to protect the ability of these public lands to improve the economy of Utah. We will be focusing our calls to action all week on Utah’s public lands issues, starting with the actions listed below.
If ever there was a week to get involved, THIS IS IT. Sign up to get public land alerts here. Reach out to your friends, neighbors and family members across Utah from all counties and backgrounds and ask them to join our efforts as well. We need you this week, Utah. Utah needs you. YOU can make a difference, and we will help you every step of the way.
Thanks to those of you who joined Real Women Run’s Spring Training, who Marched for Science across the state, who stood in solidarity against Deportation in West Valley City and who took time on a Sunday to work with Action Utah on this year’s initiatives. You are making our communities better by getting involved and engaging the issues. Keep up the great work!
More marches coming up on our Calendar:
- SLC People’s Climate March – Saturday, 4/29 at 1:00p, SLC Public Library
- March for Solidarity – Sunday, 4/30 at 11:00a, Salt Lake City and County Building to support immigrants
COMMUNITY EVENT: “Elections, Candidates and Delegates and Finding your Political Voice”
State and federal policy impacts our Utah communities. Action Utah exists to help ordinary community members like YOU have a voice in shaping those policies in order to build stronger communities. Now that the state legislative session is over, Action Utah has is diving into over a dozen initiatives and campaigns to impact policy around Families & Communities, Public Health, Environmental Stewardship and Government. We would love to tell you all about them at our community event on May 2!
Join us May 2 in Salt Lake City, 7:00p at the University of Utah’s Old Moot Courtroom (Hinckley Institute) for an evening of community lobbying information to learn:
- How elections work in Utah
- How people become candidates and delegates
- Resources for anyone considering running for office
- Finding your voice as a community member interested in engaging political issues or running for office
Featuring former state legislators Pat Jones and Holly Richardson.
For more information and to RSVP, please click here.
Public lands is both a state issue and a national issue, particularly when lands at stake are federally owned lands. This week we are mobilizing Utahns across the state to weigh on public lands in order to improve our communities, bring Utah economic prosperity, bring better funding into schools and conserve lands that we love to appreciate for its beauty and recreational offerings. Public lands is an inherent part of Utah’s identity, and we must work hard to protect them. Why are we so worked up about this? Because a majority of Utahns agree on this issue, and we are here to give you a voice in the debate to help you shape policies that impact our Utah communities.
1. Protect Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments. Myths and misinformation abound about the impacts these national monuments have on our communities, our state and our nation. It’s time to change the dialogue around these monuments to reflect the desire of a majority of Utahns to see them protected and not undone or reduced. This is not a partisan issue. This is not a state’s rights issue. These monuments benefit us economically and do not hamper agricultural activity or school funding. Secretary Zinke will be visiting Utah soon, and he is under the mistaken impression that Utahns do not support the monument designations and sizes. He has heard only misinformation from a very small group of Utahns opposing the monument. Let’s change that.
- Sign up for our PUBLIC LANDS ACTION TEAM – Make a commitment to take every action you can to support our public lands. Sign up to receive updates about when Zinke is coming to Utah, notices about attending Zinke’s meetings in Utah as well as public lands rallies and press conferences, and calls to action. Attend events, take action and AS IMPORTANTLY commit to spreading the word to at least 5 other people to ask them to do the same. This Team will become our public lands “phone tree”. It’s not hard. It won’t take much of your time. It simply takes the decision to commit and plan ahead.
- Flood Secretary Zinke with messages of monument support – Call or write to Secretary Zinke to express not only your support for the national monument designations, but also your support for their current sizes, plus data about support by a majority of Utahns and broad support from across the nation by Americans who are also rightful owners of our public lands. Tell Secretary ZInke that protecting our public lands is essential to the growth of Utah’s economy and to lifting up the poorest of our counties. More info here.
Secretary Ryan Zinke: (202) 208-7351 (Dept of Interior main line), (202) 912-7780 (BLM public inquiry line where calls on this issue are being counted), email@example.com, Tweet: @RyanZinke or @SecretaryZinke
- Flood the press – Action Utah aims to get people from every county writing letters to the editor about this issue THIS WEEK and flooding every major press outlet in Utah, along with national media as well. Our representatives, Secretary Zinke, Donald Trump and the nation need to hear from us to stop a small minority of Utahns from dominating the messaging on our public lands. Never wrote a letter to the editor before? That’s okay! Check out our tips on How to Write An Effective Letter To The Editor. Click here for the Top 10 newspapers in Utah. Click here for a List of Utah Newspapers. LET US KNOW where you’ve submitted so we can keep track of which press outlets still need to be contacted. Calling on members outside of SL County in particular to weigh in, or members within SL County to reach out to friends and family around Utah and ask them to write a letter to the editor.
- Share Bears Ears press on social media – Each week we have been sharing a list of op-eds and articles from across the nation demonstrating the strong and broad support Bears Ears has within Utah and around the country. Please share, share, share to spread the word and set the record straight about how a majority of Utahns support the monument designation and how there is broad support for it nationally from all kinds of people, including conservatives, vets, Tribes and so on. Share the following articles, and click here and here for more good articles to share. Be sure to use hashtags #BearsEars and #StandWithBearsEars
– Next 100 Coalition Letter to Trump and Zinke demonstrating broad coalition support for Bears Ears – Share on Facebook and Tweet: #Next100Coalition urges @SecretaryZinke to #StandWithBearsEars & the newly formed #BearsEars Commission: goo.gl/od9jVC
– Letter: “Western Senators Stand With Bears Ears and National Monument Designations” – Share on Facebook and Twitter
– National Parks Traveler: “Paper Trail Shows A Lot Of Communication Over Bears Ears National Monument” confirming that the process for considering a Bears Ears proclamation was inclusive and accommodating and included repeated communications with Utah elected leaders, despite the Utah delegation’s assertions to the contrary – Share on Facebook and Twitter
- Contact your MoCs – Let your Members of Congress know that you support Bears Ears and Grand Staircase just the way they are and why this issue is important to you. Make this personal. Be sure to give your full name and address to ensure your call gets counted. Contact your two state senators and one U.S. Representative to weigh in on these public lands issues. Find contact information for your MoCs here or see below. District 3 constituents – Rep. Chaffetz has said that he will devote the remainder of his time in office to the issue of repealing Bears Ears, rather than to pursuing issues of national security and ethics in his role as Chairman of the House Oversight committee. Let his offices know that we elected him to be a steward of ethical government, not to repeal Bears Ears!
- Spread the word – Even if you do not join our Public Lands Acton Team, please share this email/post and all of our Calls to Action this week as far and wide as you can to get more people from around Utah speaking up and taking action. Let us know how many people you’ve gotten to join the effort — whoever gets the most new people engaged in this effort will be featured in our next weekly email!
- Let us know what you’ve done! Send us pictures of letter writing parties, pictures of your visits to these wonderful public lands, updates about what actions you’ve taken, where you’ve submitted letters to the editor and op-eds and any other actions you’ve taken! We want to celebrate and share your good work!
2. Support a School Trust Lands Exchange. Support Utah leadership pushing for an exchange of School Trust lands currently captured within the Bears Ears Monument Designation. Comparable land exchanges at GSENM in the 90s have netted over $300 million for Utah’s public schools and are currently the single largest contributor to the statewide fund. Critics may make claims about land exchanges being political and inefficient, but SITLA and the USOE have an efficient process with good results, particular after Amendment B passed in the 2016 election. More info here.
- Call or write to Utah leadership. Ask them to support a School Trust Land Exchange to increase money available to public schools in Utah, no matter the outcome of the Bears Ears National Monument designation. Call or send a postcard telling your MoCs and Governor Herbert why a Land Trust Exchange is good for Utah.
Governor Herbert (801) 538-1000 or submit an online comment here
Sen. Orrin Hatch (202) 224-5251 (DC) // (801) 524-4380 (SLC) // (801) 375-7881 (Provo) // (435) 634-1795 (St. George) // (801) 625-5672 (Ogden) // (435) 586-8435 (Cedar City)
Sen. Mike Lee 202-224-5444 (DC) // 801-524-5933 (SLC) // 435-628-5514 (St. George) // 801-392-9633 (Ogden)
Rep. Rob Bishop (Congressional District 1): 202-225-0453 (DC) // 801-625-0107 (Ogden)
Rep. Chris Stewart (Congressional District 2): 202-225-9730 (DC) // 801-364-5550 (SLC) // 435-627-1500 (St. George)
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (Congressional District 3): (202) 225-7751 (DC) // (801) 851-2500 (UT)
Rep. Mia Love (Congressional District 4): (202) 225-3011 (DC) // 801-996-8729 (West Jordan)
Not sure who your U.S. Representative is? Check here.
3. Conserve Bonanza Flat for Utahns on the Wasatch Front and Back. Bonanza Flats is approximately 1,350 acres of largely flat land with alpine meadows and lakes—it is the land that falls in front of you when you stand atop Guardsman Pass and look from Park City across Midway toward Heber. Popular Lackawaxen Lake and Bloods Lake are within the boundaries of the proposed acquisition, as is the face of the 10420 Peak. The land is privately held, and it is an area that Wasatch Front and Wasatch Back residents have used for recreation for years. This land is the gateway to numerous hiking and biking trails, including the popular Wasatch Crest Trail. Now we have the RARE opportunity to conserve it in perpetuity for public use… but if we fail to do so it will be developed, and we will lose this land forever. The deadline to purchase the land has been extended to June 15th! Cities, counties, taxpayers, land conservancy groups and individual donors have come together to raise the $38 million needed to purchase the land from Wells Fargo. The effort is SO close, but still needs $3 million to complete the transaction. Here’s how you can help.
- Donate and spread the word! Please consider making a donation for this great land by clicking here. And spread the word on social media platforms to your friends and family, asking them to do the same.
- Ask Salt Lake County to contribute funding for Bonanza Flat. Park City taxpayers voted to tax themselves $25 million to fund Bonanza Flat. Wasatch County has also committed funding. But a great many users of the land actually come from Salt Lake County, which has so far decided against contributing to this amazing recreational space just over the hill. Salt Lake County residents: contact your county council members, particularly Max Burdick, Michael Jensen and Richard Snelgrove, and ask for SL County to contribute $1.5 million to Bonanza Flat. Use this tool to find out who your county officials are and how to contact them. Or find County Council members and their contact info here.
More to come!
Andrea & Katie
Co-Founders, Action Utah