Trash cleanup, archaeological site monitoring and trail maintenance are just a few of the many volunteer activities in southern Utah that deserve a shoutout. These efforts are indicative of the growing involvement by volunteer citizens to protect and defend Utah’s most treasured assets. At a time when federal and local budgets have been severely strained and edicts from the highest levels of government are rolling back hard-won gains, ATV riders, mountain bikers, backpackers, conservationists, local nonprofits and government agencies at all levels are answering the call. These private/public partnerships are becoming more commonplace even in localities where local firebrands excel at bringing up anti-government contempt.

Unfortunately, rollbacks and reversals of previous policies at the executive level could embolden the usual suspects. Therefore, armed ATV protests and talk-radio tirades are likely to continue, but as always these spectacles will contribute nothing of value to the management of Utah’s public lands.

Thomas R. Smith, Hurricane