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PEER Applauds Determination On Potential Wupatki National Monument Wilderness, Calls For Additional Wilderness Reviews


A decision by National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis that there are wilderness quality lands in Wupatki National Monument has spurred a request that the Park Service review nine other parks where it has in the past concluded no such lands existed.

Since 1971, the Park Service has identified 10 units where it didn't see any lands qualified for wilderness designation. Wupatki had been one of those 10 units, but Director Jarvis earlier this year signed off on a determination that almost all of the 35,422-acre monument was worthy of such designation.

That recognition brought approval from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, which often is critical of the Park Service.

"Dear Director Jarvis:

"Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) has not often had the opportunity to commend you. But when you act to protect park resources, we owe you our support and commendation. In March 2013 you signed a wilderness eligibility determination for Wupatki National Monument, Arizona. The determination found over 34,000 acres eligible for wilderness. Your action, along with the conversion of potential wilderness to full wilderness at the Drake’s Bay in Point Reyes National Seashore at the end of 2012, advanced the unfinished wilderness agenda of the parks..."

PEER's letter to Director Jarvis last week also pointed out that the Wupatki determination was particularly noteworthy because the Park Service was not ordered by a court to perform the wilderness eligibility review.

"More encouraging, the Wupatki determination is the FIRST time in the nearly 50-year history of wilderness review that the NPS has reversed an earlier determination that a park contained no lands suitable (eligible) for wilderness," continued PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch.

The PEER official went on to note that since 1971 the Park Service has determined that 10 areas of the park system contained no acreage with suitable, or eligible, lands for wilderness designation. Wupatki National Monument had been one of those ten, and PEER expressed hopes that the director's decision on wilderness quality lands there would lead to renewed looks at the nine other parks for wilderness quality acreage.

Those other units are: Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida, Big Thicket National Preserve in Texas, Biscayne National Park in Florida, Canaveral National Seashore in Florida, Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico, Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, New River Gorge National River in West Virginia, Padre Island National Seashore in Texas, and White Sands National Monument in New Mexico.


There we go. More wilderness lunacy.

Zeb, FWIW, you are aware that saying that is a very extreme and minority opinion? I waited overnight from when I first read it before replying, just to take some of the WTF out of my response.

that is a very extreme and minority opinion

And that statement is based on what, other than your personal opinion? My experience is that there is quite a bit of opposition to blanket Wilderness designations. Valid or not, it is hardly extreme and questionably "minority".

Hmmm. My experience is that there is a quite a bit of agreement on the need to designate as much federal land as possible as wilderness. I guess it is the company you keep.

I am hopeful that over the next three years we see a change toward the treatment of our public (government owned) natural areas. The more wilderness areas there are, the less development there will be. Then we can avoid development such as the 'enhancements' (in another article) cited in comments about Jenny Lake, oil drilling, fracking, and clear cutting, to name just a few.

Dahkota - No doubt there are some lands that warrant preservation, but to imply that as much land as possible should be made wilderness (regardless of the merits) purely for the sake of "less development" is precisely the position that riles the opposition. Quality should be the determining factor not quanitity.

The 'opposition' being those with 30 years on Wall Street who have gone into real estate.

That is one of them Rick - but as is obvious from the posts here and the actions of Congress, certainly not the only one.

It's probably a minority opinion among the NP hiking faithful. It's certainly not a minority opinion in the cycling community. Each time we talk about opposing argument, we hear FUD about Wall Street, oil drilling. The fact is that land can be preserved without being officially designated as Wilderness. Wildernuts will simply never have enough Wilderness and will always ask for more.

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