‘Grand Bargain’ on land use in Utah offers something for everyone

Labyrinth Canyon, Utah/Ray Bloxam, SUWA
Labyrinth Canyon, Utah/Ray Bloxam, SUWA

By Jim Carlton | The Wall Street Journal

San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman made a defiant point about land use when he led an unauthorized ride of all-terrain-vehicle users into a nearby scenic canyon last May after it had been closed by the Bureau of Land Management to protect archaeological artifacts.

Yet only 10 months later, at a recent meeting with land protection proponents, Lyman chatted amiably about the need to make compromises in resource management.

The new attitude came thanks to a proposed federal law some call the “Grand Bargain.” Under the legislation being finalized, San Juan and some other counties in Utah would agree to wilderness and other restrictions on public lands in return for getting other areas designated for energy and other uses.

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