Wild Utah

Wild Utah

SUWA's campaign to Protect Wild Utah cuts across policy, legal and administrative issues. Our podcast, Wild Utah, gives the land a voice. In order to preserve the unique natural quiet of southern Utah, we're gonna have to make some noise.

All Episodes

Now that we’ve collectively taken a month or so to deeply breathe in full restoration of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments to their original boundaries: what comes next? We’ve invited SUWA’s Legal Director, Steve Bloch to explain the current state of things. Steve has guided SUWA’s work through legal and administrative challenges on both monuments over the years, and he’s here to bring us up to date on the process, answer your questions, and explain what you can do to reinforce protections for these outstanding places.Take Action After this Episode:Sign a thank you card to President Biden and Interior Secretary Haaland for restoring Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments!Attend an upcoming webcast with Oregonians of Wild Utah, Washington Friends of Wild Utah, and Jacqueline Keeler to further unpack the future of Bears Ears.Resources:Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition Statement on Bears Ears National Monument restoration SUWA Statement on Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument restorationsLearn more about SUWA’s stance on Bears Ears hereLearn more about SUWA’s stance on Grand Staircase-Escalante hereHighlights In the News: KSLTV: Tribes, advocates praise Bears Ears restorationHigh Country News: Bears Ears is back-- but don’t celebrate just yetWashington Post Opinion: Bears Ears is protected again. But for how long?Deseret Opinion: It’s time to deflate the Bears Ears political footballHuffington Post: Utah Republicans Shamelessly Invoke Tribes to Condemn Bidens Monument RestorationsABC 7 Denver: Native stewards of Bears Ears hope for more Indigenous voices to be included in federal land managementKUTV2: Utah AG challenging orders over Bears Ears, Grand Staircase National MonumentsOutside Magazine Op-Ed: There’s more work to do at Bears EarsThank you to our show supporters!Wild Utah is made possible by the contributing members of SUWA. Thank you for your support!Become a SUWA member today and support the Wild Utah PodcastSubscribe to Wild Utah on your favorite podcast app!wildutah.info/Stitcherwildutah.info/Applewildutah.info/SpotifyTheme music is by Haley Noel Austin, with interlude music by Larry Pattis.Dave Pacheco is the host of Wild Utah.Post studio production and editing is by Laura Borichevsky.A transcript of this episode can be found here.

Nov 17

26 min 34 sec

Human-powered recreation is exploding on public lands throughout the west, with Southern Utah as the poster child for unsustainable growth and associated impacts to resources and user experiences. These problems are compounded by under-staffed and under-resourced federal land management agencies like the Bureau of Land Management. Join Professor of Recreation Resources Management Dr.Christopher Monz and SUWA Wildlands Director Neal Clark to learn about the impacts of human-powered recreation in Southern Utah, and how implementing more proactive land management strategies from the Bureau of Land Management will protect public lands, wildlife and wild places-- all while providing a spectrum of high-quality, meaningful experiences for a diverse recreating public.

Oct 20

25 min 47 sec

Sometimes referred to as “the science monument,” Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was established 25 years ago to protect the objects of significant scientific value found in the area. Since President Trump illegally halved the monument in 2017, monument supporters including SUWA and Grand Staircase-Escalante Partners have been working hard to get it back. We speak with Sarah Bauman, Executive Director of Grand Staircase-Escalante Partners, about the effort to restore the monument, and why this area is so deserving of restored protection. Wild Utah is made possible by the contributing members of SUWA. Wild Utah’s theme music, “What’s Worth?” is composed by Moab singer-songwriter Haley Noel Austin. Post studio production and editing is by Jerry Schmidt.

Aug 19

33 min 59 sec

We examine how America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act defines the turf of Utah’s wilderness debate - literally on the ground, as well as politically - and how the bill sets the standard against which other legislative and administrative actions are measured. Wild Utah is made possible by the contributing members of SUWA. Wild Utah’s theme music, “What’s Worth?” is composed by Moab singer-songwriter Haley Noel Austin. Post studio production and editing is by Jerry Schmidt.

Jul 20

19 min 51 sec

We take a step back to look at the macro view of why southern Utah captures the hearts of so many. We’re joined by Michael Haswood, Bears Ears Artist in Residence at Utah Diné Bikéyah, to ask: What is beauty? How is beauty embodied in your art? Is beauty important in the movement to protect wilderness? Wild Utah is made possible by the contributing members of SUWA. Wild Utah’s theme music, “What’s Worth?” is composed by Moab singer-songwriter Haley Noel Austin. Post studio production and editing is by Jerry Schmidt.

Jun 15

37 min 11 sec

SUWA and coalition partners across the country are calling on the Department of Interior to assert its long-held and ongoing authority to inventory and manage Wilderness Study Areas as a practical and secure means of achieving national conservation and restoration goals. We discuss the role BLM wilderness study areas, in Utah and across the western U.S., can play in helping to connect wildlife corridors, protect biodiversity, and mitigate the climate crisis. Wild Utah is made possible by the contributing members of SUWA. Wild Utah’s theme music, “What’s Worth?” is composed by Moab singer-songwriter Haley Noel Austin. Post studio production and editing is by Jerry Schmidt.

May 13

23 min 27 sec

Get the details behind a new scientific report from EcoAdapt: Contribution of the America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act to Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Efforts. The report is authored by EcoAdapt's Laura Hillberg, and she joins us to explain its conclusions. Wild Utah is made possible by the contributing members of SUWA. Wild Utah’s theme music, “What’s Worth?” is composed by Moab singer-songwriter Haley Noel Austin. Post studio production and editing is by Jerry Schmidt.

Apr 16

17 min 26 sec

In this episode, we take on the climate implications of the Bureau of Land Management's “vegetation removal” program. Previously, we’ve discussed this clearcutting of mostly healthy pinyon-juniper forest in the name of “habitat restoration” - a practice that mostly benefits domestic livestock grazers. SUWA Wildlands Attorney Kya Marienfeld joins us to preview a new SUWA report on how the BLM’s vegetation removal program is Moving Backward on Climate and 30 x 30. Wild Utah is made possible by the contributing members of SUWA. Wild Utah’s theme music, “What’s Worth?” is composed by Moab singer-songwriter Haley Noel Austin. Post studio production and editing is by Jerry Schmidt.

Mar 22

15 min 34 sec

The Bureau of Land Management is accepting public comments for a new travel management plan for the spectacular San Rafael Swell. With the designation of new wilderness areas in the Swell in 2019, and with the BLM’s poor track record of over-designating new routes through this kind of planning, your comments are important. SUWA staff attorney Laura Peterson rejoins us to talk about the San Rafael Swell Travel Management planning process and what you can do. Wild Utah is made possible by the contributing members of SUWA. Wild Utah’s theme music, “What’s Worth?” is composed by Moab singer-songwriter Haley Noel Austin. Post studio production and editing is by Jerry Schmidt.

Feb 24

15 min 8 sec

What role can America's Red Rock Wilderness Act play in achieving the Biden administrations goals of mitigating the climate crisis and protecting 30 percent of America's lands and waters by 2030? We dive deep into two recent scientific reports that provide an answer. Wild Utah is made possible by the contributing members of SUWA. Our theme music, “What’s Worth?” was written and performed in Moab by Haley Noel Austin.

Feb 5

14 min 39 sec

SUWA Legislative Director Jen Ujifusa and Legal Director Steve Bloch discuss how the 2020 election results will affect our work to protect Utah’s wild redrock country, and what we expect President Biden to do with respect to Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. Wild Utah is made possible by the contributing members of SUWA. Our theme music, “What’s Worth?” was written and performed in Moab by Haley Noel Austin.

Dec 2020

31 min 1 sec

Located just three miles from the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe’s White Mesa community and one mile from Bears Ears National Monument, the White Mesa Uranium Mill was originally designed to run for 15 years before being closed and cleaned up. 40 years later, the mill is still in operation, and community members are concerned about the mill's continued impacts on public and environmental health, as well as the mill’s ongoing desecration of cultural and sacred sites. As the last remaining conventional uranium processing mill in the country, will the White Mesa Mill become the world's radioactive waste dump? We speak with Yolanda Badback from White Mesa Concerned Community and Talia Boyd, Cultural Landscapes Program Manager with the Grand Canyon Trust, about the nuclear fuel cycle, impacts to Indigenous communities, and what you can do to help stop ongoing harm by closing and cleaning up the mill. Wild Utah is made possible by the contributing members of SUWA. Our theme music, “What’s Worth?” was written and performed in Moab by Haley Noel Austin.

Dec 2020

18 min 47 sec

SUWA Staff Attorney Landon Newell discusses a proposal by the Bureau of Land Management to allow a helium drilling project within the newly-established Labyrinth Canyon Wilderness along the Green River. This is the latest in a long series of outrageous actions on public lands by President Trump’s Bureau of Land Management, but there are ways for you to get involved in the effort to stop the drilling of this spectacular wilderness before it starts. Wild Utah is made possible by the contributing members of SUWA. Our theme music, “What’s Worth?” was written and performed in Moab by Haley Noel Austin.

Nov 2020

15 min 14 sec

SUWA Staff Attorney Laura Peterson discusses the recent decision by the Utah Bureau of Land Management to more than double the number of off-road vehicle routes across the wild San Rafael Desert. We get her perspective on the decision, how it will affect future BLM travel planning across Utah, and what this means for SUWA’s efforts to protect wild Utah from motorized mayhem in our remaining wild places. Wild Utah is made possible by the contributing members of SUWA. Our theme music, “What’s Worth?” was written and performed in Moab by Haley Noel Austin.

Sep 2020

13 min 11 sec

SUWA attorneys Landon Newell and Kya Marienfeld discuss the recent Trump Administration revisions to the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA. NEPA and its implementing regulations have been described as our nation's “Magna Carta for the protection of the environment." Not surprisingly, the revised regulations severely undermine the dual NEPA requirement of ensuring public participation and scientific scrutiny. Wild Utah is made possible by the contributing members of SUWA. Our theme music, “What’s Worth?” was written and performed in Moab by Haley Noel Austin.

Aug 2020

20 min 25 sec

Our guest is Leah Thomas, activist, eco-communicator and founder of Intersectional Environmentalist, a new and growing community of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color environmental writers and content creators. Intersectional Environmentalism advocates for the protection of both people and the planet by identifying ways in which injustices happening to marginalized communities and to the earth are interconnected. In this episode, Thomas shares her perspective as a Black environmentalist and discusses her experiences as a person of color on public lands. Wild Utah is made possible by the contributing members of SUWA. Our theme music, “What’s Worth?” was written and performed in Moab by Haley Noel Austin.

Jul 2020

27 min 31 sec

How can mother nature cultivate confidence, healing, and embodiment for LGBTQ+ people? In this episode, SUWA Community Organizer Olivia Juarez and guests Eva Lopez of Orgullo Utah and Salvador Oregon-Torres, a Utah-based LGBTQ+ and undocumented community advocate, delve into queerness in the wild. Wild Utah is made possible by the contributing members of SUWA. Our theme music, “What’s Worth?” was written and performed in Moab by Haley Noel Austin.

Jun 2020

33 min

Michael Johnson, Senior Policy Advisor for Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), discusses the resolution Sen. Udall is sponsoring in the U.S. Senate to protect 30% of U.S. lands and waters by the year 2030, known as the “30 by 30” campaign. This urgent push represents America’s contribution to avert catastrophic collapse of the planet’s natural systems. Our conversation lays out some of the underlying science and need for such broad action, as well as current congressional efforts to lead the way. We’ll also turn to SUWA Organizer Terri Martin to explain the role that America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act plays in the broader national and international “30 by 30” campaign. Wild Utah is produced by Jerry Schmidt and is made possible by the contributing members of SUWA. Our theme music, “What’s Worth?” was written and performed in Moab by Haley Noel Austin.

May 2020

27 min 4 sec

While physical distancing measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus have kept many people at home, gateway communities at the edge of wild public lands in Utah are hardly catching a break. Residents and healthcare practitioners in places like Moab and Boulder, Utah are doing everything they can to stop the transmission of Coronavirus in their small rural communities – communities particularly vulnerable to stress on healthcare, groceries and other vital resources during a pandemic. In this episode of Wild Utah, we are joined by Dr. Dylan Cole, Chief Medical Officer at Moab Regional Hospital, and Blake Spalding, Chef/owner of Hell’s Backbone Grill in Boulder, Utah, to hear more about why staying at home this spring is imperative for their communities. Wild Utah is produced by Jerry Schmidt and is made possible by the contributing members of SUWA. Our theme music, “What’s Worth?” was written and performed in Moab by Haley Noel Austin.

Mar 2020

35 min 19 sec

In this episode, we talk with SUWA Wildlands Attorney Kya Marienfeld and Legislative Director Jen Ujifusa about the status of, and funding for, large-scale eradication of piñon pine and juniper forests on BLM lands in Utah. As you may recall, back in October 2018 we talked about BLM plans to destroy native forests on over 135,000 acres inside Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Fifteen months later we’re happy to report that ALL of those plans have now been shelved. We’ll learn why, and we’ll take a deeper dive into the shadowy manner in which these projects are funded, and what we’re doing about it.  Wild Utah is produced by Jerry Schmidt and is made possible by the contributing members of SUWA. Our theme music, “What’s Worth?” was written and performed in Moab by Haley Noel Austin.

Feb 2020

15 min 31 sec