One less voice
The Utah Wilderness Association will go into hibernation March 29
after 17 years of fighting for wilderness
Staff departures and money woes
led to the decision by the group's board of directors. One of UWA's
founders, Dick Carter, says his resignation, plus those of George
Nickas and Gary Macfarlane over the last two years, had left the
group leaderless. In addition, the group's lackadaisical fund
raising never let it pay staffers more than $15,000 a year.
Recently, UWA's clout has withered. The group
failed to settle the Utah wilderness debate with a 3
million-acre-compromise, Carter says, because some
environmentalists and the state's congressional delegation ignored
The notion of forging common
ground was a flop, agrees Ken Rait of the Southern Utah Wilderness
Alliance, which has pushed for a 5.7 million-acre wilderness bill
along with a national coalition of environmental groups. "They
tried to craft a compromise when there is no spirit of compromise,"
he says. "They lost their constituency by misreading the politics."
But UWA is worth resurrecting someday, Carter
believes. The group's accomplishments include successfully
negotiating the state's wilderness bill for national forests in
1984, its revelation that the BLM had "overlooked" 800,000 acres in
its inventory of roadless lands, and its early lobbying on behalf
of a BLM wilderness bill.