Eastern Utah Public Lands Initiative
The following information was released by the San Juan County Commission to
provide summary information regarding the County's participation in the Public
In 2013 Congressman Rob Bishop (later joined by Congressman Jason Chaffetz)
introduced a Public Lands Initiative (PLI) for eastern Utah. The goal of the
PLI was legislation that would resolve long-standing land use controversies and
give some certainty to Federal land management issues in the future. The
Congressmen invited county commissioners in several eastern Utah counties to
develop PLI proposals for their respective counties that could be incorporated
in the eastern Utah legislation.
San Juan County’s Participation in the Public Lands Initiative
The San Juan County Commission fully supports the Public Lands Initiative and
the goals articulated by Congressmen Bishop and Chaffetz. In developing San
Juan County’s proposal for the PLI, the County Commission had the following
The San Juan County proposal would be developed from the ground up with a focus on local participation.
To develop the proposal, the Commission established a Public Lands Council
composed of county residents representing various interests. This Council met
many times over an 18 month period and developed three proposals. In
conjunction with the Council, the Commission held open houses at various
locations in the County and published information about the PLI process and
proposals in local media and on the County’s website. County residents were
encouraged to submit comments on these proposals. Additional meetings were
held with Native American groups to discuss their concerns before the Council
settled on a final proposal on June 15, 2015.
The San Juan County proposal would represent the wide range of interests and
viewpoints held by citizens of the County.
Lands Council membership included interests representing minerals, cultural
resources, recreation, Native American concerns, travel management, livestock
grazing, wildlife and wilderness. Individuals with special interests or
knowledge were invited to participate in Council meetings as needed.
The San Juan County proposal would balance natural and cultural resource
preservation with natural resource development.
The County Commission and residents of the County have strong ties to, and
feelings about the land and landscapes of the County. Conserving and
preserving these natural and cultural resources is an important priority.
The Commissioners also recognize the importance of economic development and
economic stability for County residents. A significant part of San Juan
County’s economy is tied to the development of natural resources in the
County. San Juan County’s proposal strikes a careful balance between
preservation for the future and responsible development to support economic
The San Juan County proposal would insure greater local involvement in federal
The County Commission feels strongly that land management is enhanced
(improved) when the State, County and Native American tribes are involved in
management discussions and decision making. The County’s PLI proposal would
mandate that federal land management agencies encourage greater local
participation and give credence to local concerns.
San Juan County’s Proposal
The final Lands Council proposal was discussed at length in open County
Commission meetings. The County Commission ultimately voted to adopt and
submit the Council’s proposal to Congressmen Bishop and Chaffetz. San Juan
County’s proposal includes:
2 National Conservation Areas (NCAs including wilderness)
Wilderness areas (within and outside NCAs)
Indian Creek Recreation Area
Energy Zone designation (high mineral potential areas).
Transfer of federal mineral rights on McCracken Extension to Utah Navajo Trust
Enhanced coordination with State, County and Tribes in management of federal
Recognition of current federal agency transportation plans with adjustments to
accommodate County concerns.
Land exchanges and transfers to meet local needs.
For a comment form please
Email comments to
Additional Information about the Public Lands Initiative
Congressmen Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz are sponsoring a Public Lands Initiative which would
include the development of a lands bill to be introduced in the US Congress. The
purpose of this action is to resolve some of the long-standing issues over
federal land management in Eastern Utah.
For answers from the Congressmen of frequently asked questions, please
The San Juan County Commission is participating in the process of developing the
lands bill. The bill provides an excellent opportunity for San Juan County
residents to have a say in how federal lands in the County are managed.
Potential benefits of a lands bill include the following:
* Energy zones where mineral and energy development are given higher
* Land exchange to consolidate ownership of lands with high development
* More say in how federal lands in the County are managed.
* County ownership of Cal Black Airport.
* Enhanced local management of Hole in the Rock trail.
* Municipal ownership of adjacent BLM lands where needed.
San Juan County Lands Council
In January of this year the County Commission asked a number of local residents
to serve on a Lands Council charged with developing ideas for the lands bill.
The Lands Council participants represent a broad range of land management interests.
In the course of meeting frequently over the past several months, the Council
has developed a number of alternatives for a possible San Juan County lands
Lands Council Participants
Commissioner Phil Lyman - Blanding (Lands Council Chairman)
Tim Chamberlain - Blanding
Steve Deeter - La Sal
Josh Ewing - Bluff
Vaughn Hadenfeldt - Bluff
Marie Holiday - Monument Valley
Shaye Holiday - Monument Valley
Brent Johansen - Blanding
Mark Maryboy - Montezuma Creek
Grayson Redd - Monticello
Heidi Redd - Dugout Ranch, Indian Creek
Shane Shumway - Blanding
Stefnee Turk - Blanding
Todd Westcott - Monticello
Comments from Lands Council Participants
Commissioner Phil Lyman, Chairman of the Lands Council
"San Juan County has long been at the forefront of public lands issues. At one
point our mineral value made San Juan County the 2nd most
highly valued in the State. We were Utah’s largest producer of Oil and Natural
Gas. We produced more Uranium than any other county. Only Salt Lake County
exceeded us in value due to the presence of Kennecott Copper. Times have
changed; markets change, operations evolve, and discoveries are made in other
places. These developments have an impact for the better of for the worse, but
there is one shift that has certainly impacted our values negatively and that is
the proliferation of federal regulations coupled with an appetite for
“protection” on the part of federal land management agencies.
The board of County Commissioners has responded to Congressman Bishop and
Congressman Chaffetz’ request to present a proposal they could include in their
multi-county Lands Bill. We have begun the long process. We take full
responsibility for that process and for its outcome. While politicians in
Washington may place weight on the proposals from special interest groups, we do
not. If and when we make a proposal to Congressman Bishop for inclusion in this
his proposal, it will be based on the needs of OUR Citizens. Please be vocal and
articulate in your suggestions, yet courteous of others who may disagree with
you. As always, thank you for your willingness to get involved!"
Commissioner Phil Lyman
San Juan County
cell: 435-459-2800 fax: 435-678-3229
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Phil.Lyman.SanJuanCountyCommissioner
Heidi Redd wrote the following about the Lands Bill process:
"I fear that if we don't participate in the lands bill process as a County,
we will be left with what we're given, which may not be to any of our liking.
The County members of this council have debated the pros and cons of all of our
suggestions. We hope you will consider them with an open mind."
For Heidi's complete comments, please
Josh Ewing representing Friends of Cedar Mesa
"Friends of Cedar Mesa was honored to participate in the Lands Council
created by the San Juan County Commissioners. This diverse group of ranchers,
ATV riders, miners, hunters, archaeological enthusiasts, and local access
advocates provided hundreds of hours of volunteer time discussing, researching
and debating public lands issues. The respectful, collaborative and open-minded
spirit of these discussions are a credit to what our community can accomplish if
we work together and find common ground."
For Josh's complete comments please
Following is a statement from Lands Council member Stefnee Turk
"As a Council, we have met together often in the last year. We have
given of our free time to participate in this democratic process, a process by
which people from differing views, beliefs and backgrounds come together.
Our great country was founded on such democratic processes, and it has been a
pleasure to participate in one. Although we disagree on a lot of things, we are
respectful to one another and recognize that we are all citizens of the county.
It is key to understand that we are just a council, and that is merely what we
have done. We talked, a lot. We disagreed, a lot. However, we
also agreed on a few things. We do not lay claim to making any of the
decisions in this process, and it is far from over. The County has taken
what we talked about and made what they call “layers” on a map. What they
developed might be great, and it might be terrible. Maybe our time was
wasted, or maybe it was used to benefit others. That is up to you, the
citizens of San Juan County to decide. Attend a meeting; familiarize
yourself with the process, the “plans” and implications of each of those things.
I urge each and every citizen of this county to get involved. Now is the
time to let your voice be heard."
Lands Council member Steve Deeter commented as follows:
"All of us that were asked to serve on the Lands Council donated our time and
travel expenses to attend these meetings. We came together with varied agendas.
We had disagreements and agreements and we learned to stretch ourselves and
consider the ideas of others and step outside of our own paradigms. This wasn’t
always easy for any of us especially me. I am grateful to have been asked to
serve on this committee as I was able to make new friends."
For Steve's complete statement, please
Public Comment and Participation
The County Commission wants your ideas regarding the lands bill process and the
Lands Council proposals. Six open houses are scheduled throughout the County to
present information about the lands bill and to solicit your comments. Your
comments will be used by the County Commissioners to develop a lands bill
proposal that represents local interests and will result in positive benefits
for the residents of San Juan County. You will have the opportunity to make
written and verbal comments at the open houses. Please consider attending.
If you are not able to attend an open house you may send your comments
directly to San Juan County. Please see the Comments section below for
Open House Schedule
Monument Valley High School - Monday, October 27, 7:00 PM
Blanding Arts and Events Center USU Eastern Campus - Tuesday, October 28,
Bluff Community Center - Wednesay, October 29, 7:00 PM
Monticello High School - Wednesday, November 5, 7:00 PM
La Sal Community Center - Thursday, November 6, 7:00 PM
Aneth Chapter House - Monday, November 10, 7:00 PM
Lands Council Alternatives
To serve as a foundation for public discussion, the Lands Council developed
three alternatives. Each alternative proposes Congressional designations
of National Conservation Areas (NCA) and/or Wilderness for various areas of the
County The following is a brief explanation of each of these designations.
National Conservation Area (NCA) – An area designated by Congress to
conserve, protect and restore nationally significant landscapes that have
outstanding cultural, ecological and scientific values. These areas are
typically withdrawn from mineral entry (new mining claims and oil and gas
leasing). Other traditional multiple uses are usually allowed if those uses are
consistent with the conservation and protection of the outstanding values in the
Wilderness – An area which appears to have been affected primarily by
nature where the evidence of man is substantially unnoticeable and set aside to
preserve its natural character. Only Congress can designate wilderness.
Wilderness areas are withdrawn from mineral entry (new mining claims and oil and
gas leasing), livestock grazing shall continue, motorized and mechanized uses
are prohibited and fuel wood gathering is not allowed.
For more detailed information about activities allowed in Wilderness and NCAs,
please click here.
Maps of the Lands Council alternatives as well as a variety of other
supplemental maps and information will be available at the open houses.
You can download the maps presented at the open houses using the links below. These are
large pdf (Adobe Acrobat) files and may take some time to download.
Alternative B and
June 15, 2015 Proposal
Utah Dine Bikeyah Proposal
San Juan Alliance
State (SITLA) Lands
County Energy Zone
County Travel Plan
Current BLM Management
America's Red Rock Wilderness Act
Indian Creek NCA
Cedar Mesa NCA West
Cedar Mesa NCA East
You will be able to make written or verbal comments at all of the open
You may also email any comments to
Your comments can be mailed to:
San Juan County Commission
P. O. Box 9
Monticello, UT 84535
When mailing or emailing comments, please include your name and address.
The deadline for submitting comments is November 30, 2014.
For a comment form please
Email comments to
Stakeholder Comments and Proposals
Congressman Bishop has received comments and proposals from a number of
stakeholders. We have included brief summaries and links to more
information for all the stakeholder proposals that have been provided to the
County. Please click here for this information.