It is clear from his critique of SUWA that although he rants from the sidelines, Jim Stiles has never actually been in the game (HCN, 5/29/06:Clinging hopelessly to the past). The absence of actual political experience may explain Jim’s emphasis on an elusive wilderness bill to the exclusion of SUWA’s other achievements.
Without SUWA, Utah’s redrock wilderness would be covered with roads, ruts, and drilling platforms. You get that kind of conservation by doing the fieldwork, making your case in court, and walking the halls of Congress, not by polishing your crankier-than-thou Ed Abbey impression in front of the Zephyr’s mirror and making a cult of your own nostalgia. As someone who is both a fellow ranter and a political activist, I can attest that ranting is the easier job.