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Letter: Protect Utah’s roadless areas

Governor Gary Herbert hosted Utah’s annual economic summit on May 17, which included a panel on “Building Your Business Through Outdoor Recreation.” Ironically, he is also pushing to exempt Utah from the longstanding national Roadless Rule. Roadless Area protections are important to the state’s outdoor recreation economy, which today supports 110,000 direct jobs and generates $12.3 billion in consumer spending. Removing protections from some 90% of Utah’s National Forests, as his petition to the U.S. Forest Service proposes, would roll back or eliminate safeguards for nearly 80% of protected backcountry skiing, hiking and mountain biking areas.

The Roadless Rule has preserved wildland recreation opportunities for nearly two decades.