Open Space, Access and Public Lands
“I’m just afraid one day I’ll look down from this mountain and it’ll look like Sandy……” – one of my hiking partners
A question came up in one of the political Facebook groups where I am a member. The question was :
Where do you stand on Open Space, Access, and Public Lands?
My conviction is strong that public lands must be protected, cared for, and respected. These are some of our most valuable resources, and they belong to us all, not just the biggest campaign donors.
My first thought whenever I think of open space or public lands is :
Public lands that are treated well are ASSETS. They generate revenue, health, and well being.
Public lands that are abused are LIABILITIES. They don’t contribute to our well-being, and end up costing more in the long run.
I will work hard to keep as many of these public lands in the ASSET column, and prevent them from becoming liabilities. Public Lands are crucial to the future of the state we love, and a lot of people I talk with do not trust our state to do the right thing in protecting these public lands. I will fight to protect public lands, no matter which entity controls them. It is not just the economic future of our state, but the health and well being of future Utah families that needs protecting.
Should communities invest in open space?
Yes. Now is the time to make the right decision that will affect generations to come. Each community should be able to decide for themselves how they invest in open space. The state can play a role, though, in making it easier, and in providing guidance and leadership. We can help connect communities with less experience in open space with those who have been through it before. I would encourage all communities to make significant investments for the future. Land is not getting any cheaper, and open space will be key to keeping our communities great places to live for generations of Utah families.
There are great organizations all around the state helping preserve forest and agricultural land as open space, and they deserve to be supported.
I think we should do our best to provide access to public lands by using as little private land as possible. Investing in open space generally will help get access to those lands, and I encourage that. Also, giving communities the legal support that they need to ask developers for easements for access would help those communities form effective recreational spaces. I’m really open to listening to experts on this topic from all sides.