By John Worlock Save Our Canyons Board of Trustees
Last month Congressman Jim Matheson reintroduced his Congressional bill,
called the Wasatch Wilderness and Watershed Protection Act.
This bill would protect some 24 thousand acres of National Forest land in the TriCanyons of the Central Wasatch, permanently. The bill was crafted through several
years of negotiations by a variety of stakeholders, including Forest Service and local
officials, mountain bikers, watershed managers and canyon resort operators, with Save
Our Canyons and its environmental allies. Much of the included acreage lies within the
watershed supplying clean water to citizens in the Salt Lake Valley.
Another Utah Congressman, Rob Bishop, will be important when this bill is
debated in Congress. Congressman Bishop has risen to the Chairmanship of the House
Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands. His committee did not give
this bill the courtesy of a hearing upon its introduction into the previous session of
Congress. It is a truism to say that the Congressman has not been a friend of Wilderness
However, in recent discussions in Washington about Wilderness, Chairman
Bishop has said (quote) “I’m not opposed to creating wilderness per se, but I want to
make sure that first of all it has the consent of local elected officials as well as the
members of Congress from that area.” He also specified that Wilderness bills should not
create economic hardship or endanger private property.
It seems to us that the Matheson Bill is almost perfectly designed to satisfy the
Bishop Criteria. It is a local bill, created locally, affecting no one’s private property and
creating no economic losses. That’s why we are mounting a campaign, with the hope of
moving the bill through the current congress.
Learn more about the Wasatch Wilderness and Watershed bill and join our
campaign for its passage. Go to the website wasatchwilderness dot org and click on
the banner: Wasatch Wilderness (HR2808) Reintroduced to Congress. Find there a
map, read the actual language of the bill, and learn why we think Wilderness in the
Wasatch is so important!