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Outdoor recreationists: Tell Utah you’re not visiting this year

If you’ve had enough of Utah politicians’ efforts to transfer our public lands or undermine national monument designations, let the State of Utah know.

Utah relies on our outdoor recreation dollars to help fuel its economy. As a community, we contribute nearly $12 billion to the state’s economy—employing more than 122,000 people while generating $856 million in state and local taxes! That’s the kind of economic impact that should make anyone take notice.

But instead of catering to us as an important constituency, Utah politicians have repeatedly given us the middle finger by opposing popular national monument designations and even trying to undermine our public lands altogether.

As a community, we can do better in pressuring the state to better reflect our conservation values. We deserve to have Utah working hard to attract our business, not taking our hard earned travel dollars for granted while they attack the places we love.

Tell Utah that if it won’t support the outdoor recreation community, then we won’t support its economy. Here’s how.

What to write

This is what I wrote, but feel free to deviate from this how ever you see fit. Don’t worry about writing the most perfectly eloquent message—just getting the key points out there is the important part here.

  • Introduce yourself so it’s obvious this isn’t a form letter
  • Tell Mr Adams that you’re a regular visitor to Utah
  • Calmly explain that you’re offended by the actions of Utah’s elected officials in attacking our public lands and attempting to undermine Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments
  • Make it clear that this is totally unacceptable to you, and as a result, you won’t be visiting Utah until it changes
  • Ask him to relay your sentiments to the Governor and other elected officials

Who to contact

Address your message to Tom Adams, Director of the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation. His email address appears to be tomadams@utah.gov.

Or you can use this form to send your message from the Utah website.

If you’d rather call, try 801-538-8873.

Also, feel free to send a similar message to Gov Herbert while you’re at it.

What this accomplishes

Let’s not kid ourselves—shooting off an email to the Utah tourism department isn’t enough to turn back these public lands attacks. But lodging your complaint and threatening to spend your outdoor rec money elsewhere does send an important signal, one that is amplified by other actions. Whether you ultimately choose to visit Utah this year or not, this is a simple action to remind the Utah leaders that there is a price to pay for their actions.

And if you do visit Utah, please make sure to raise as much hell as you can about public lands issues while you’re there. Be vocal and tell people that you’re not happy about how Utah is treating its public lands and they’re jeopardizing your tourist dollars.

How to stay engaged

Jump on this Arizona Conservation Partners email list and we’ll keep you updated. Your email is safe with us.



Many organizations are working on this issue, including the Outdoor Alliance, TRCP, Center for Western Priorities, and The Wilderness Society to name just a few. Any of them would be great organizations to saddle up with.

If you’d like to help support Bears Ears National Monument in particular, I’d recommend checking in with the Friends of Cedar Mesa and the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition.

Please share this post

Tweet it, facebook it, or better yet: email or text it to a few of your adventure buddies. The more of us that weigh in, the better. Help get the word out. You might even want to use the hashtag #OptOutofUtah.

The National Parks of Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt is a giant figure in the history of conservation and the National Parks system. Arguably the first “Conservation President,” he used his authority and foresight to establish and protect many of our country’s most treasured places. His conservation legacy is astounding, especially for the era in which he governed, and encompasses far more than his additions to the national parks system.

Honoring his important tenure as President, no fewer than six different national parks commemorate Teddy Roosevelt:

  • Theodore Roosevelt National Park
  • Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site
  • Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site
  • Theodore Roosevelt Island
  • Sagamore Hill National Historic Site
  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial

If you haven’t been to each of these places, you should add them to your “to visit” list. Theodore Roosevelt NP and Sagamore Hill NHS are among my favorite lesser-known parks in the country.

TR  will forever be associated with the many national park units he helped established, whether by signing national park legislation or by using his authority under the Antiquities Act. Here’s the looong list of places he helped protect:

  • Crater Lake National Park
  • Wind Cave National Park
  • Mesa Verde National Park
  • Chickasaw National Recreation Area
  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • Devils Tower National Monument
  • El Morro National Monument
  • Montezuma Castle National Monument
  • Petrified Forest National Park
  • Chaco Culture National Historical Park
  • Lassen Volcanic National Park
  • Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
  • Tonto National Monument
  • Muir Woods National Monument
  • Pinnacles National Park
  • Jewel Cave National Monument
  • Natural Bridges National Monument
  • Tumacacori National Monument
  • Olympic National Park
  • Jean Lafitte National Historical Park
  • Yosemite National Park

That’s one helluva conservation legacy for the National Parks.

And that doesn’t include the 51 National Bird Sanctuaries (later renamed National Wildlife Refuges) he designated, the 150 million acres of National Forests he established, or the other conservation policies he impacted.

Thanks, Teddy, for all that you did to preserve America’s natural heritage.

#MyNationalParksMonth is my centennial celebration of the National Parks

My National Parks Month
If I could, I’d mark off every single national park (red pins only) left on my quest. Instead, I’ll spend a month hitting as many as I can. [update: OR DO THEM ALL!]

UPDATE: jump to a listing of what I’ve seen thus far.
BIG NEWS: hear about the epic encore I’m currently!
EVEN BIGGER NEWS: I’m now visiting 100 Parks in 100 Days

Continue reading #MyNationalParksMonth is my centennial celebration of the National Parks

Pearl Jam – Live in Concert

It had been 4,777 days since I had seen Pearl Jam in concert. The only time I had seen them live was October 21, 2000—one day shy of the ten year anniversary of the band’s first performance. pearljamticket I’m not a big concert guy—I’ve only been to a couple of PJ concerts and two other Flogging Molly ones—but that original concert was special. Pearl Jam has been my favorite band for two decades now. Not only to do I love the music, but I’ve really appreciated their politics and social outlooks. Hell, they even devoted a song to one of my favorite books. Unfortunately, the band hasn’t included Phoenix in any of its tours for more than a decade. So when the band announced that they would be visiting Phoenix on November 19 on their Lightning Bolt tour, there was no way I was going to miss it.

Continue reading Pearl Jam – Live in Concert

Words of Wilderness

The Wilderness Act turns 50 this year and this short video is a visually stunning way to celebrate some of our most treasured landscapes. We’re truly indebted to John Muir, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner, Also Leopold, and the countless other unsung advocates who fought tirelessly to preserve Wilderness for us all. What an amazing legacy to leave.

…on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam—our pale blue dot.

It’s hard to find a more eloquent, humbling, and ultimately empowering statement than the inspired words of Carl Sagan. If you’ve had a bad day recently or need some perspective on your life, here it is. Watch. Listen.

In the vastness of space and the immensity of time, revel in the joy of sharing a planet and an epoch with your friends and family, with neighbors and strangers. With wistful clouds and chirping birds; with streams and rock and dirt.

Because with great fortune, you have the serendipitous opportunity of inhabiting, for a brief moment, a tiny fraction of a speck on our insignificant pale blue dot—a faint pinprick of reflected light suspended in an incalculable vastness. Cherish it. Hold dear the only home we’ve ever known, that solitary mote of dust.

Continue reading …on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam—our pale blue dot.