Bennett said he believes he could have got the bill through the Senate, but House leaders refused to let legislation be tacked on to any of the measures representatives are passing.
"Getting through the Senate would be satisfying, but not sufficient. So when it became clear that it would not go through the House, I and my allies all said, 'OK, to quote the Brooklyn Dodgers, Wait until next year,'" Bennett said.
Bennett's bill would have recognized 219,725 acres of wilderness areas, mostly in the already-protected Zion National Park, and authorized the sale of up to 24,300 acres of federal lands over several years.
The bill was the product of a cooperative effort established by then- Gov. Olene Walker, aimed at bringing the various interest groups together to resolve longstanding land-use conflicts.