TU responds to news Utah may challenge public lands ownership

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Feb. 21, 2018

Contact: Corey Fisher, Public Land Policy Director, Trout Unlimited, (406) 546-2979, cfisher@tu.org

Utah lawsuit could challenge public land ownership

SALT LAKE CITY—According to media reports, last week Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes told assembled members of the Utah Rural Caucus that he is preparing a lawsuit that could challenge the authority of the United States of America to hold public lands in perpetuity.

“Difficult public lands issues should be settled through dialogue and collaboration, not lawsuits funded by Utah’s taxpayers,” said Andy Rasmussen, Utah coordinator for Trout Unlimited’s Sportsmen’s Conservation Project. “There’s a better path forward and we’re going to stay on it while working to protect fish and wildlife habitat, our public land heritage and rural economies.”

We are disappointed to hear that the state of Utah is considering a lawsuit that may benefit a few, but only at the expense of everyone else,” said Chris Wood, TU’s president and CEO. “As an organization, we value rural communities and all public land stakeholders, and we strive to develop collaborative solutions that solve land-management challenges. Unfortunately, any lawsuit that challenges public lands and the principle that they are to be held in trust for all Americans will just continue to sow conflict and discontent over our public lands.”

Recent years have seen unparalleled engagement and cooperation by sportsmen and women in Utah and around the West in the management of America’s public lands. Trout Unlimited members and partners have engaged in U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management planning, congressional and state legislative actions, and on-the-ground projects that seek collaborative solutions in this often contentious policy arena.

“Trout Unlimited, and the thousands of Utah sportsmen and women who enjoy Utah’s public lands—and the millions of Americans nationwide who are invested in their public lands—call on Attorney General Reyes and Gov. Herbert to chart a different course that supports America’s public-land heritage,” continued Wood. “We understand the challenges people face and instead of driving a wedge between Americans with different values, we should work together to find answers that sustain both America’s public lands and rural communities.”

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Trout Unlimited (TU) is the largest sportsmen's organization dedicated to cold water conservation in North America. Since 1959, TU has worked to make fishing better by conserving, protecting, restoring and sustaining native trout and salmon populations and their watersheds. TU has 300,000 members and supporters and more than 400 chapters across the U.S.

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