oh, those land lease updates…good times!

Ken over the San Juan Alamanac beat me to the punch today with his link to good news about the Utah land leases, detailed in the L.A. Times. The Salt Lake Tribune had the story two days ago (naturally, since it affects Utah more directly). Hoor-rah! So. Why is this a good thing? Because all indications point to the incoming (tomorrow, phew!) Obama administration being much more receptive to conservationist ideals, land preservation, careful and educated approaches to land uses, etc. etc. In plainer terms, it seems that the folks on his team might be more, ah, kind and gentle to Utah’s lands. (My personal jury is still out on Ken Salazar (Interior Secretary nominee), but we shall see.)

Here’s what the Salt Lake Tribune had to say yesterday about the juxtaposition of the incoming team and Utah’s land interests. They also point out that Salazar is focusing almost exclusively on energy concerns, letting fall to the wayside very important concerns like off-road ATV use (which pisses people like me off to no end). That issue is of growing concern, fueling ugliness and downright violence all over the place, such as the ongoing issue in Garfield County, Utah, that went on for quite some time. I agree that energy concerns are vital right now. But we can’t forget all the details. This is when delegation becomes an essential ingredient of governing. Hey, Mr. Salazar! Put me to work on the ATV yahoo issue. I’ll be part of an eagle-eyed team on that subject.

It’s exciting to think about the possible future. One of my favorite activities is just wandering red rock country in southern Utah. Really. Just wandering. It can get so silent…the space is so vast, and so beautifully unfilled by people, that the silence can actually ring in your ears, pounding along in rhythm with your heartbeat. The flap of a raven’s wings might be the only sound breaking the silence, along with a brief croak or two as the bird scans the area and lets you know, as it passes overhead, that you are in its territory and it does indeed spy you down below, o flightless human. The smell of the pinyon pines, the lack of human trash or footprint, the abundance of jackrabbits and pack rat droppings and imaginings that fill the landscape…ahhh. The thought of that remaining untrammeled, undrilled, and simply being, is what excites me. We all need places where we can just be, can just exist, can wander without worry, secure in our simple connection to the land.

Doesn’t the land itself also need such space to just be?

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