As spring approaches, many of us begin planning what to do with our yards, making plans for gardens, a new patio or perhaps taking out some lawn to save water. In some cases, we could face zoning or neighborhood covenant restrictions requiring approval. What we do should not adversely affect our neighbors’ privacy, comfort or property values.
Given the gnashing of political teeth by Utah’s governor, congressional delegation, Legislature and some county commissioners over the Bureau of Land Management’s late-December decision to allow the setting aside of some “wild lands” as part of its planning process, shouldn’t federal land managers be able to make long-term decisions about land uses just as we do in our backyards? The word “planning” frightens many Utahns, especially when it’s being done by the government. Yet, when done correctly, it helps the present and preserves the future.
I’ve always preferred the term “multiple choice” as opposed to “multiple use” when deciding what activities should be allowed on BLM lands. That’s because it is impossible for a single piece of land to be used for grazing, wildlife, motorized recreation, oil and gas development, watershed protection and wilderness. Managers, with input from the public, must carefully decide which uses make sense...