Wildlife and Public Lands Bill: How Will They Coexist?

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By Ray Petersen

Wildlife Management

In the Emery County Public Land Use Act it is important to clarify the future management of wildlife within the designated wilderness areas and the National Recreation Area. As is the case with other resource users, hunters and wildlife viewers prefer that they will be able to enjoy the wildlife in the same manner following passage of the legislation. Wildlife management in the State of Utah is the responsibility of the Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) under the umbrella of the Utah Department of Natural Resources. That management will continue with the passage of this legislation. Wildlife is identified as one of the purposes that will be conserved, protected and enhanced by the bill.

(b) Purposes.—The purposes of the Conservation Area are to conserve, protect, and enhance the recreational, cultural, historical, educational, natural, scenic, and wildlife resources of the Conservation Area.

The State of Utah will continue to manage wildlife,

 (a) Jurisdiction Of State.—Nothing in this title affects the jurisdiction of the State with respect to fish and wildlife on public land located in the State.

(b) Authority Of Secretary.—In furtherance of the purposes and principles of the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131 et seq.), the Secretary may carry out management activities to maintain or restore fish and wildlife populations (including activities to maintain and restore fish and wildlife habitats to support the populations) in any wilderness area if the activities are—

(1) consistent with applicable wilderness management plans; and

(2) carried out in accordance with—

(A) the Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131 et seq.); and

(B) applicable guidelines and policies, including applicable policies described in appendix B of House Report 101–405.

Guidelines and policies referred to above in appendix B assures that DWR can continue to use practices already in place for wildlife management; the use of helicopters for management of Bighorn Sheep for example.

As part of wildlife management, DWR utilizes hunting and trapping. This will continue as well. Expansion of Goblin Valley State Park will not hinder hunting opportunities managed by DWR.

SITLA / BLM Land Exchange

HR 5727 directs that an exchange of land will take place between the Utah School Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) and Bureau of Land Management. SITLA policy requires that properties belonging to the Trust. which are within special designation areas such as wilderness and National Recreation Areas. be exchanged. Over one hundred thousand acres of SITLA properties are identified in wilderness areas and NRA in HR 5727.

Although the bill requires this land exchange to take place, it will not be accomplished as part of this legislation. Because of time required and other complexities of these types of exchanges, it will be done separately from this bill.

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