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Monument process to begin


Members of the state and county government and the state direcor of the Bureau of Land Management will hold a special public meeting in Emery County on Aug. 8 to begin the public information process on the concept of establishing a San Rafael Swell National Monument.

Governor Michael Leavitt, Emery County Commissioners Ira Hatch, Drew Sitterud and Randy Johnson and Sally Wisely, state director of the Utah Bureau of Land Management, will hold a special public meeting to announce the information and public feedback process to explore the question of, "Is a national monument designation the proper course of action to ensure that the priceless landscapes and heritage resources of the San Rafael Swell are both protected and enjoyed by current and future generations?"

This meeting will be held at the amphitheater of the Castle Valley Pageant site on the DesBee Dove Road and will begin at 3 p.m. Governor Leavitt said, "The purpose of the meeting is to layout the proposal process and make certain everyone has a chance to contribute to the development of a proposal. This is only an idea. It could take as much as a year to mobilize the community and talk through the ultimate process. This is a BLM, state and county announcement which will begin a unique participatory process that people will feel good about. It is heartening, in the past the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument was a bad example. This will be the opposite of that and the dialogue will be complete and open.

"It is difficult to know whether you are for or against the monument right now, because there is no proposal. How can you form an opinion about a proposal you have never seen? People will have a say. There will be plenty of time to do it right. Emery County and the State of Utah can work through a process with optimism. BLM is taking the lead because the land is under their jurisdiction.

"We expect the process to complete a proposal would take a year, we don't want it to be too long, but adequately long to do a thorough job. We expect an orderly meeting where people can ask questions. This is the beginning of the dialogue and there will be plenty of opportunities over the next year for people to express their opinions. We hope people will come and participate and help shape, participate and comment," said Governor Leavitt.

The announcement will educate the public on the process that will be used to further explore the monument question.

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