Letter to the Editor: State lands sale bad for sportsmen, recreationists

This 2015 photo shows letter to the editor author Jay Banta on a turkey hunt, Missouri, 2015 | Photo courtesy of Jay Banta, St. George

OPINION — On Oct. 19, the state of Utah plans to sell thousands of acres of state-owned lands, permanently ending public entrance to places accessed by Utahns for generations.

This 2012 photo of letter to the editor author Jay Banta shows him on a quail hunt, location not specified, 2012 | Photo courtesy of Jay Banta, St. George
This 2012 photo of letter to the editor author Jay Banta shows him on a quail hunt, location not specified, 2012 | Photo courtesy of Jay Banta, St. George

Many of these landscapes encompass prime wildlife habitat and offer high-quality public access for hunters to pursue mule deer, elk and upland birds, among other critters. Once sold, these opportunities would be lost forever. (The access agreement in Cave Valley, cited in a recent article by Julie Applegate, is unfortunately the exception, not the rule.)

Read more: 200 prime acres near Zion National Park for sale by state agency

Utah sportsmen are invested in stopping this bad deal. The Utah chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is mobilizing public lands users to speak out against the sale. To date, more than 1,000 have signed a BHA petition urging the state to reconsider its approach.

Many of Utah’s elected officials are pushing state management (or ownership) of federal public lands and waters. They are quick to offer reassurances that state ownership would not result in the lands’ sale. Yet clearly, the state is all too willing to sell off its lands to the highest bidder – a scenario that has played out with state-owned lands time and time again.

More than 70 percent of Western hunters depend on public lands for our time afield. During the time of year when many of us are heading afield with our families, Utah’s elected officials should be doing more to expand opportunities for us to partake in our outdoor traditions – not end them forever.

Submitted by Jay Banta, St. George.

Letters to the Editor are not the product or opinion of St. George News. The matters stated and opinions given are the responsibility of the person submitting them.

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  • debbie October 19, 2016 at 9:51 am

    no, no no no.. utah is a home you don’t sell the living room to the highest bidder. the only people that would agree with this is politicians trying to balance out checkbooks they are going to have all messed up again in 6 years.. or to silence annoying liberals who want the gov’t fix everything.. don’t sell any of our lands.. its UTAHANS lands. stop!

  • Bob October 19, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    …when your own mormon-republican ideology comes back and bites you in the butt. I think its hilarious. Why do you ppl think the state wants all that federal land? that’s right, so they can sell it all off to their wealthy cronies. a lot of you ppl are silly and naive, like children.

    • .... October 19, 2016 at 5:19 pm

      silly and naive and like children that’s pretty much you Bob. LOL you’re about as full of it as you can get ! BTW you left out your government owned big pharma conspiracy ! now better go and clean up your sandbox your wealthy cronies will be there to buy it from you !

  • Peg October 19, 2016 at 8:14 pm


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