Officials seek the "complete' Canyonlands

  A new proposal by Canyonlands National Park superintendent Walt Dabney would more than double the park's size, from 368,000 acres to about 852,000 acres. Dabney says the proposal "completes' Canyonlands by drawing park boundaries along natural features. He hopes it will serve as a model for future park planning.

"This is in the public arena now, and what it needs now is a discussion about the completion of Canyonlands and what should your national park be," says Dabney. "I would invite people to go out to Dead Horse Point or Needles Overlook, or Grandview Point and look into that basin and figure for themselves "Where is the park?" It's such an obvious geographical, topographical piece when you see it."

Much of the land included in the plan is land proposed for wilderness designation by the Bureau of Land Management or included in the Utah Wilderness Coalition bill, H.R.1500.

Congressional legislation is required to change the park's boundaries. Urging a yes vote are environmental groups such as the Grand Canyon Trust and The Nature Conservancy, which owns the 5,500-acre Dugout Ranch near the southern entrance to Canyonlands.

Yet Herb McHarg, Moab representative for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, says the proposal doesn't go far enough.

"If it's going to happen it needs to be bigger," McHarg says. "If they were to

expand the plan to encompass all the land in that area currently included in the (Utah Wilderness Coalition) bill, and if they bring it in as wilderness, then we might feel better about supporting it."

*Lisa Church

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