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Dave Jorgensen Joins The Board

"The wilderness overlook near Mirror Lake where HUPC conducts its annual wolf howl was also the site of the dedication for Utah Forest Service wilderness in 1984. The dedication was held on such a sparkling day that I felt that the new high Uintas Wilderness was purposely showing off.

An LDS General Authority offered an appropriate but mundane prayer like I would have given. Senator Garn and Congressman Hansen gave forgotten talks which seemed little more than senseless banter concerning which of them was best at this or that. While the ceremonies continued, the Wilderness stretched out before us and glistened silently, an undulating carpet of green rolling into the familiar mountains to the east. Finally, in a closing prayer given by a minister I did not know, words captured the moment as he gave thanks for the glories of Creation and warned those who would spoil such gifts as that which was spread before us.

Neither the High Uintas nor the minister seemed to impress the redoubtable Senator Garn. As we returned to Mirror Lake, I thanked the Senator for getting a wilderness bill passed even though I knew that the major motivation for his sponsorship was his desire to see to it that as little wilderness was designated as possible. Instead of gracefully accepting my thanks, the Senator stated that he liked "places like this [Mirror Lake] where people could come." He seemed oblivious to the fact that a Mirror Lake experience would be far less meaningful without the wilderness behind it.

There isn't much large wilderness left in Utah outside the High Uintas. Our national parks are relatively small. All five could almost fit within Yosemite and amount to only a fraction of Yellowstone's size. When Congressman Hansen challenged Secretary Babbitt to find five million acres of BLM land that still qualified as wilderness, he was unintentionally making a very good argument for the need for significantly more wilderness designation in Utah.

Neither is there overwhelming concern for biological diversity. Governor Leavitt intentionally tried to undermine endangered species protection by eliminating a number of DWR biology positions. There is no overall plan to ensure that the population of wildlife supported by Great Salt Lake shore lands can be maintained. Rarely does one hear of the wildlife supported by the Book Cliffs. Wolves and cougar are either unwanted or hunted in part because they kill too many deer and elk leaving fewer deer and elk for humans to kill.

Unfortunately, neither the natural nor urban environment is a priority for most Utah politicians. Few Utah politicians are willing to ask constituents to sacrifice much, if anything, in the way of insatiable human desires for wildness or for much else environmental. As a result, Utah wilderness and wildness need all the public support they can get.

About 20 years ago, I joined the Utah Wilderness Association hoping to do a little to promote wilderness protection in Utah and hoping to broaden my social contacts to help a struggling law practice. Joining the Utah Wilderness Association did nothing to help the law practice which no longer exists. But it was a wonderful personal experience. Being around Dick Carter, his staff, and others associated with that organization enlarged my commitment to Utahís environment and exposed me to some very ethical people. It is a pleasure to have that opportunity again."

David Jorgensen

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