There currently is a Zion Mojave Wilderness Proposal being debated. It is called Washington County Growth and Conservation Act of 2006. It is currently being debated in both the US Senate and House of Representatives. The Wilderness Society and Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance are playing a lead in helping protect this area. Located in Washington County, UT, near Saint George, this area is predicted to grow by 5 times over in the next 45 years.

On July 12, 2006, Senator Robert Bennett (R-UT) officially introduced his Washington County Growth and Conservation Act of 2006 (S. 3636). The next day, Congressman Jim Matheson (D-UT) introduced companion legislation in the House (H.R. 5769).

These bills could change the face of Washington County, Utah. It could protect lands, but many people also believe it will promote sprawl. Washington County, is located in the southwest corner of Utah bordering Nevada and Arizona. The area covers nearly 2,500 square miles, and has been one of the fastest growing counties in the United States. In the mid 1960s there were only about 10,000 residents; today Washington County has over 100,000 residents. More than 75 percent of the County is Federal land, managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and the National Park Service (NPS). Also in Washington County include lands held in trust by the Federal government for the Shivwits Indian Tribe and lands owned by the State of Utah. How those lands are managed is a critical issue to the people of Washington County; this bill addresses a wide range of land management policies.

The utility corridors in this bill also plan room for the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline that would direct water into Washington, Kane and Iron counties. The pipeline legislation was signed into law in May of 2006. In order to meet the water demands of an ever-growing population in Southern Utah, these counties are pursuing a pipeline that would run from Lake Powell to Sand Hollow Reservoir. These 158 miles of pipeline would bring 70,000 acre feet of water to Washington County, 10,000 acre feet to Kane County and 20,000 acre feet to Iron County. The pipeline would most likely cost $494 million or more in current dollars.

The Lake Powell Pipeline would allow Utah to tap into its unused portion of the Upper Colorado River water, which was defined in the 1922 Colorado River Compact. The Compact divides the river basin into two areas: the Upper Colorado (comprising Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming) and the Lower Basin (comprising Nevada, Arizona and California). Currently Utah is using 74 percent of its annual allocation of 1,369,000 acre feet.

The Washington County Growth and Conservation Act of 2006 bill would designate more than 219,000 acres as wilderness, preserve utility corridors, create an off-road trail system, develop a new conservation area, protect 170 miles of the Virgin River, and sell to the highest bidder up to 25,000 acres of public land at fair market value. As with any change, many people are concerned about the wording of the bill and the future rights for people to use the outdoor lands that they have had access to for years. Saint George has been growing, fast for the past few years and there is a concern about the developers who would buy the land up for bid. Controlling urban sprawl in this area is a concern to many. So much of Southern Utah is an adventure outdoor wilderness area, not many people want to see changes take place that would restrict their access to this ZionMojave Wilderness Area.

This is an area where the Mojave Desert intersects with the Colorado Plateau and the Great Basin. Red Mountain’s incredible sandstone formations, the Beaver Dam Mountains, Cougar Canyon, Dixie National Forest, Cottonwood Canyon, Joshua Trees and Doc’s Pass provide deer hunting, hiking, climbing, cycling, fishing, horseback riding and ATV opportunities.

Lizards, rattlesnakes, iguana, desert tortoise, deer, cougars, and bear all call this area home. Mostly to the west of Saint George, UT the Zion Mojave Wilderness would create one huge recreational adventure opportunity. With Zion National Park to the east and additional parks and BLM lands within miles. In the northeastern part of Washington County, the proposed Deep Creek and Deep Creek North wilderness areas consist of sheer canyon walls which drop to dramatic year-round rivers. There are hanging gardens with wildflowers with bald eagles and giant California condors. The steep and rugged Hurricane Cliffs form the most outstanding feature of another proposed Blackridge Wilderness. Soaring in elevation by 2,000 feet in under a mile, the area is popular for hikers, hunters and photographers.

Here are some of the sections of US Senate Bill number S. 3636

TITLE III--WILD AND SCENIC RIVER DESIGNATION

Sec. 301. Zion National Park Wild and Scenic Rivers.

TITLE IV--UTILITY CORRIDORS

Sec. 401. Utility corridors and rights-of way.

TITLE V--HIGH DESERT OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLE TRAIL

Sec. 501. High Desert Off-Highway Vehicle Trail.

TITLE VI--RED CLIFFS NATIONAL CONSERVATION AREA

(1) BEARTRAP CANYON- Certain Federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management, comprising approximately 40 acres, as generally depicted on the Eastern Map, which shall be known as the `Beartrap Canyon Wilderness'.

(2) BLACKRIDGE- Certain Federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management, comprising approximately 7,145 acres, as generally depicted on the Eastern Map, which shall be known as the `Blackridge Wilderness'.

(3) CANAAN MOUNTAIN- Certain Federal land in the County managed by the Bureau of Land Management, comprising approximately 35,344 acres, as generally depicted on the Eastern Map, which shall be known as the `Canaan Mountain Wilderness'.

(4) COTTONWOOD- Certain Federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management, comprising approximately 11,650 acres, as generally depicted on the Central Map, which shall be known as the `Cottonwood Wilderness'.

(5) COTTONWOOD FOREST- Certain Federal land managed by the Forest Service, comprising approximately 2,642 acres, as generally depicted on the Central Map, which shall be known as the `Cottonwood Forest Wilderness.'

(6) COUGAR CANYON- Certain Federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management, comprising approximately 10,568 acres, as generally depicted on the Western Map, which shall be known as the `Cougar Canyon Wilderness.'

(7) DEEP CREEK- Certain Federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management, comprising approximately 3,320 acres, as generally depicted on the Eastern Map, which shall be known as the `Deep Creek Wilderness'.

(8) DEEP CREEK NORTH- Certain Federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management, comprising approximately 4,264 acres, as generally depicted on the Eastern Map, which shall be known as the `Deep Creek North

(9) GOOSE CREEK- Certain Federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management, comprising approximately 89 acres, as generally depicted on the Eastern Map, which shall be known as the `Goose Creek Wilderness'.

(10) LAVERKIN CREEK- Certain Federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management, comprising approximately 445 acres, as generally depicted on the Eastern Map, which shall be known as the `LaVerkin Creek Wilderness' .

(11) RED BUTTE- Certain Federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management, comprising approximately 1,124 acres, as generally depicted on the Eastern Map, which shall be known as the `Red Butte Wilderness'.

(12) RED MOUNTAIN- Certain Federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management, comprising approximately 18,716 acres, as generally depicted on the Central Map, which shall be known as the `Red Mountain Wilderness'.

(13) TAYLOR CREEK- Certain Federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management, comprising approximately 35 acres, as generally depicted on the Eastern Map, which shall be known as the `Taylor Creek Wilderness'.

(14) WATCHMAN- Certain Federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management, comprising approximately 600 acres, as generally depicted on the Eastern Map, which shall be known as the `Watchman Wilderness'.

(15) ZION-

It will be an interesting period of time to see ZionMojave grow and prosper.

Bob Therrien is a travel writer and has traveled all over North America. He currently operates the website at http://www.zionmojave.comSmart Dll Missing Fixer,How to Fix Pop3pack.exe not Found Error,How to Fix Pop3perf.dll not Found Error,How to Fix Res_no.dll not Found Error,How to Fix Mnpol.exe not Found Error,How to Fix Mmutil32.dll not Found Error
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