Letter: Utah lawmakers can’t be trusted with our land

Sen. Mike Lee speaks at a Utah public lands forum hosted by the Sutherland Institute, June 29, 2018, in Salt Lake City. Lee has talked to the White House about a replacement for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, he said Friday. But Lee wouldn't say whether his name is among the potential front-runners. (Leah Hogsten/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)

Thanks to Ryan Beam and Kirsten Allen for setting the record straight regarding Sen. Mike Lee’s anti-public lands crusade (“Lee’s lands plan pits Utahns against each other,” July 15). Republican President Teddy Roosevelt celebrated the gift of our public lands when he said, “We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received, and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune.” How tragic that any elected official would betray that heritage.

Visit our public lands — our national parks and monuments, lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the National Forest Service — and you will encounter people of all income brackets enjoying our shared heritage. States like Utah can’t afford the cost of managing public lands. Just one wildfire can cost tens of millions of dollars to fight. Once the sticker shock hits state accountants, the next step will be to sell the land to private interests. When that happens, the “no trespassing” signs will go up.

But we still live in a democracy, and we still have a voice. It’s up to us to hold public officials like Mike Lee accountable to protect this precious heritage.

Jeff Clay, Salt Lake City