Daggett County PLI agreement is a model for other counties

public lands round table

The Public Lands Initiative (PLI) spearheaded by Congressmen Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz has taken an important step forward. Last week, Daggett County officials announced an agreement to be part of the initiative.

“Daggett County’s agreement serves as a model for other counties,” said Gov. Herbert. “This agreement includes a number of key ingredients for success, including real compromise, clearly defined economic benefits, and serious conservation designations.”

The PLI is an effort to bring key stakeholders together to ensure Utah lands that should be preserved are preserved, and that lands suitable for development are available to play a role in securing America’s energy independence.

On August 12, 2014, Daggett County submitted an initial proposal to Congressman Rob Bishop for Federal land management changes in Daggett County. The county requested assistance from the Utah Congressional delegation and Gov. Herbert in finalizing the proposal by, “putting together a final plan that will benefit the concerns of the county as weighed against other interests.”

Between August and October, staff members of Congressman Bishop, Governor Herbert, the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (STILA), and leaders from the conservation organizations including the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Grand Canyon Trust, The Wilderness Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Sierra Club have worked to finalize the proposal.

The principles listed below reflect the consensus of the revised proposal that the stakeholders support:

  • Authorize an equal-value land exchange between the federal government and STILA
  • Conveyance of federal land
  • Cooperative management – maintain public access and the historic values of the properties
  • Exchange or sale of cabin sites – revenues from any sale will be used to acquire National Forest inholdings in Utah from willing sellers
  • Conservation area, wilderness, wild and scenic river designations
  • Administrative components for campgrounds
  • The reopening of the SEARS canyon route
  • Establishment of an ATV connector down Dutch John Canyon

Although there is much work to be done, this decision is a major breakthrough after years of gridlock. This ‘reasonable deal’ has been made possible from various individuals who represent the Utah way- by rolling up their sleeves and getting to work.