Protect Utah’s Vulnerable Desert Ecosystems

Target: Jenna Whitlock, Acting BLM-Utah State Director

Goal: Protect valuable wildlife habitat and sensitive ecosystems from harmful development.

Nearly 110,000 acres of desert habitat could be at risk under a new management plan in southwestern Utah. Established In 2009, the Red Cliffs and Beaver Dam Wash National Conservation Areas in Washington County neighbor Zion National Park and Dixie National Forest. They are home to fragile landscapes, important wildlife corridors, and quality non-motorized recreation opportunities. The Bureau of Land Management is currently hearing public comments on a new management plan for these areas.

Several officials in Washington County oppose protections for these areas and are advocating a plan that would encourage harmful land use. There are currently proposals to construct a new highway through the Red Cliffs and utility lines in sensitive wildlife habitats. Development plans such as these could irreversible harm the integrity of these important desert ecosystems. Environmental groups and concerned citizens are urging the BLM to prioritize conservation over development and keep these areas protected.

The lands within Red Cliffs and Beaver Dam Wash make up a transitional zone between the Great Basin and Mojave Desert. This area has a unique set of ecological characteristics that support rare plant and animal species such as the endangered Mojave Desert tortoise. To ensure the survival of these species, it is necessary to preserve contiguous habitat and wildlife corridors, not just iconic national parks.

Sign the petition below to encourage the BLM to put conservation and non-motorized recreation first in the management plan for these important areas.


Dear Acting Director Whitlock,

The Red Cliffs and Beaver Dam Wash National Conservation Areas neighboring Zion National Park are vulnerable landscapes that require our protection. The habitats within these areas make up an important ecological transition zone, and are home to unique species of plants and animals such as the endangered Mojave Desert tortoise. The areas also provide miles of scenic hiking, biking, and equestrian trails for public use.

Currently, proposals exist to construct more highways and utility lines in these conservation areas. Such plans could cause irreversible damage to fragile desert ecosystems. Protecting these areas by choosing an appropriate management plan not only provides more contiguous habitat for wildlife, it also encourages visitors to explore the beauty surrounding our national parks.

I urge the BLM to adopt a management plan that prioritizes conservation and non-motorized recreation over harmful development. It is important to set a precedent for the use of these conservation areas, and to protect the interests of tourism and national heritage against shortsighted urban expansion. Please consider the importance of maintaining these ecosystems for wildlife and public enjoyment when choosing a new plan.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Bob Wick

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598 Signatures

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