Timber has been clear cut to make ski runs, lifts and cables have been installed to access the tops of the mountains, the river has been damned to make a reflection pond, and structures built for enjoyment of guests.  To help “manage” nature, snow making machines have been installed.  Sundance has multiple uses, generates revenues, creates jobs, and invests money each year to keep it a wonderful place!

Commentary by Don Peay, founder of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife

The Bear Ears and Sundance Comparison

Robert Redford has done an incredible job building and managing a “Wilderness” recreation experience at his Sundance Ski Resort, a part of which is leased land from the US Forest Service.

To sustain the “management” of the place, there are ski and zip line tickets sold, restaurants charge for food, cabin lots have been sold.

Timber has been clear cut to make ski runs, lifts and cables have been installed to access the tops of the mountains, the river has been damned to make a reflection pond, and structures built for enjoyment of guests.  To help “manage” nature, snow making machines have been installed.  Sundance has multiple uses, generates revenues, creates jobs, and invests money each year to keep it a wonderful place!

If a President came in, and declared that Sundance was so special – which it is – and that it needed to be preserved and past activities be banned, or limited, I would fight against that Presidential action.  Even if the President was my own party.

So, the exact parallels exist with the Monuments – Bears Ears and Grand Staircase.  Like Sundance, these areas are wonderful places.  For the past 100 plus years, these lands have been managed as multiple use.  Revenues and jobs are created; money is required to have active management of habitats, water and wildlife.  Like Sundance, these areas have been kept Pristine, and even augmented natural systems.

So, here is the problem now with the Presidential Monuments.  All of the Sudden, someone comes in, and wants to put incredible restrictions on past use, and over time, federal agencies demand more and more “natural systems” and no “management”.  The parallel would be at Sundance, to turn of the snowmaking machines, stop skiing, mountain biking and zip lines activity, because these activities are not “natural”.  And people in large cities far away, would begin to demonize Redford for making “money” and raping plundering and pillaging the land.  Without Consulting, or respecting Mr. Redford’s lifetime of work and investment, the would make edicts from a far, as to how to manage his resort.

Now, Sundance is mostly privately owned.  But there are exact parallels in whether you can have certain “management” activities of land, water and wildlife, and can certain functions, hunting, grazing, limited mineral development, take place.  And, are these traditional uses continued to be allowed.

If the Shoe were on the other foot, Mr. Redford would be adamantly opposed to federal mandates from afar.  I would join him in his defense.

It would be nice for once for those on the left to say, “Yes, lets protect and preserve these magnificent places.  Lets protect historical uses.  Lets allow continuing certain renewable activities that generate revenue.  And lets not demonize Capitalism.  And just like at Sundance, lets recognize on Federal lands through cooperation and collaboration, we can have a multiple use, “wilderness” experience.

Don Peay is the founder of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife which has helped launch many major land and wildlife conservation initiatives in Utah and the West. The efforts of SFW have resulted in a 200 to 500 percent increase in populations of elk, deer, moose,bison, antelope, bighorn sheep, wild turkey and other species.For his efforts, Outdoor Life awarded don one of the top Conservationists in North America

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Free Range Report

Comments

  1. What about the Escalante/Boulder Chamber of Commerce and their desire to retain Monument status? As detailed in this SL Tribune Op-Ed from 2015 (http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/2908495-155/op-ed-escalante-is-on-the-rise), the tourism industry created by the Monument has been an economic boon for the area.

    Furthermore, the author seems to completely ignore the opinion and desires of the Native population in regards to Bears Ears. Are their interests not important?

    Finally, I would encourage careful proofreading before publishing. This piece contains multiple spelling and grammatical errors which dectract from the message and may distract readers.

  2. Sundance is not very cool. It’s a refuge for the rich, and denies land access to anyone without money.

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