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public lands

Photo of Grand Staircase.
Nate Hegyi / KUER

The Trump administration is responsible for the largest reduction of federally protected land in U.S. history after it shrunk two national monuments in Utah, according to a recent study published in the journal Science.

Flickr Creative Commons Marc Nozell

No new oil and gas leases. No more shrinking monuments. Free entrance to national parks.

Photo of U.S. House Natural Resources Committee hearing 3/13/19.
Screenshot U.S. House of Representatives

The power struggle over the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments continued Thursday in Washington, as supporters and opponents told their stories during a hearing about the impact of the Trump administration’s decision to shrink the monuments.

Bernhardt
The U.S. Interior Department via Twitter

President Trump officially nominated David Bernhardt on Friday to become the nation’s next interior secretary as questions swirl about the nominee’s conflicts of interest.

Photo of Goblin Valley State Park.
Chelsea Naughton / KUER

Updated 7:20 p.m. MST 2/26/29

Utah’s four congressmen all voted “yes” Tuesday for a bipartisan bill that makes the Land and Water Conservation Fund permanent and protects 1.3 million acres as wilderness — about half of it in Utah.

The 2019 State of the Rockies report says 70 percent of western voters identify as "outdoor enthusiasts." The annual bipartisan poll surveys how voters across the Mountain West feel about public lands, water, wildlife, and energy expansion. 

Steven Rinella is star of the Netflix series "MeatEater."
MeatEater, Inc.

 

 

Under the Trump administration, hunters and anglers have become a loud voice in the battle over how we use federal public lands. This includes Steven Rinella, who is fast becoming a big name among sportsmen and women.

U.S. Senator John Barrasso, R-Wyo. argues that putting states in charge of managing resources will remove excess red tape and make it easier for companies to drill responsibly on federal lands.
zhengzaishuru / istockphoto.com

A group of Western lawmakers have reintroduced legislation that would give states control of oil and gas projects on federal lands.

Photo of Mark Austin.
Cory Dinter / KUER

ESCALANTE — The Highway 12 corridor between Escalante and Boulder, a sweeping landscape of wind-carved and uplifted redrock, has been Mark Austin’s entrepreneurial workshop for nearly half a century.

Renee Bright / KUER

It’s pretty weird seeing my dad cut into the neck of a dead cow elk.

Like me, my dad Mike has never hunted before. He’s a software engineer. But now he’s wearing blue latex gloves, covered in blood, as he peels skin and fur off the animal.

Photo of Rep. Rob Bishop.
Brian Albers / KUER

The Utah congressional delegation’s public lands agenda took a hit Tuesday when Democrats won a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. But Reps. Rob Bishop and Chris Stewart remain optimistic that some of their legislative priorities will move forward.

Picture of two people enjoying a vista.
U.S. Bureau of Land Management

U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, said Thursday that Congress will not pass his bill this year on managing public land in the original Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

The sun is just a dim red dot. The nearby Canadian Rockies are shrouded in thick wildfire smoke.

Bob Gray knows we probably shouldn’t be hiking up a mountain right now.

“I have a scratchy throat,” he says. “Physically it effects my breathing. I probably shouldn’t spend a lot of time in it.”

The midterm elections are notorious for low voter turnout. In 2014, it was the lowest since World War II. So this year, companies, celebrities and non-profit organizations are rallying behind get-out-the-vote campaigns.

Photo of Cedar Mesa.
Judy Fahys / KUER

A judge ruled Monday that a federal court in Washington, D.C. — not Salt Lake City — will decide whether it was legal for the Trump administration to shrink two national monuments in southern Utah.

If there's a fee for either a camping site or a day use area on Forest Service land, there's probably some kind of toilet there. But solving the problem of human waste in vaulted or backcountry toilets is not as easy as flushing it out of the system.

When is the last time you’ve had a clear view of the Milky Way? Chances are you’re among the 99 percent of Americans who can’t see all that much of the night sky from where you live.

 


Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is nothing fancy when you first drive in. No towering cliffs or dramatic canyons. It’s a calm, sunny valley – 6,000 acres all totaled -- of meadow and ponderosa pine forest.

6:30 a.m. is one of the best times to watch wildlife in Yellowstone National Park’s Lamar Valley.

Everything smells like sage. It’s really cold and there are a bunch of retirees staring through hire-powered telescopes at a lush, verdant hill.

Public lands have been in the news a lot this year. They comprise much of the Mountain West, from around 30 percent of land in Montana and Colorado to more than 60 percent in Utah and Idaho. This summer, we’re taking you on a tour of some of our favorite public lands.

You may not have heard of PILT payments, but they’re pretty important for local economies in areas like the Mountain West.  The federal government gives these 'payments in lieu of taxes' to counties with federal lands that can't earn regular tax revenue.  

BLM land outside of Goblin Valley State Park in Emery County, Utah.
Claire Jones

Updated 5:40 p.m. MT 

 

A congressional subcommittee last week overstated the support that environmental groups have for a public lands bill pushed by Utah Congressman John Curtis that aims to conserve a large swath of the San Rafael Swell.

BLM land outside of Goblin Valley State Park in Emery County, Utah.
Claire Jones

A congressional panel took up legislation Thursday to protect more public land in the San Rafael Swell.

Erik Neumann / KUER

A lot of people may not have heard of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, or that it’s in jeopardy.

Andrew J. Russell/via Wikimedia Commons

The Golden Spike National Historic Site is the centerpiece of legislation making its way through Congress this week.

U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop wants to give the landmark a new designation under his bill. It would become the “Golden Spike National Historical Park,” and it would become part of a new transcontinental railroad network across the country. 

U.S. Bureau of Land Management

The Trump administration’s plans to cut red tape on environmental projects is getting predictably mixed reviews.

The Patagonia website recently took another swipe at the Trump administration over its decision to shrink national monuments in Utah. This political activism may be the new norm for the outdoor recreation industry.

The omnibus spending bill passed by Congress last month earmarked billions of dollars for fighting wildfires.  Many conservationists and politicians celebrated that change.

But the legislation also rolls rolls back some environmental protections and that has split the conservation community.

Austen Diamond / KUER

A bill encouraging that the creation of national monuments in Utah be decided by Congress, instead of the President, cleared the legislature on Thursday.

Julia Ritchey / KUER

Bipartisan measures aimed at making sure the state is getting its fair share from the federal government sailed through the Legislature this week.

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