The use of public land and how it can be preserved is often up for debate in the public in states like Utah and Montana where much of the land is still relatively en masse and unused by the public or private ventures.
Recently, in Utah, many Utahans are seeking a different approach to how land in the state is being used. In a survey taken by 53,000, Utahans were prompted on what they envisioned for Utah’s future on topics ranging from education, agriculture to housing and the use of public lands.
The survey aimed to understand Utahans needs and hopes for the future. As a state housing 3 million residents, Utah’s numbers are set to increase to a 5.4 million residents by the year 2050. The state is now taking measures to ensure that Utah is a place people will envision for possible residency in the future. The question remains, how will land be used in the future? And will this land be developed sustainably?
In describing the aptly named survey “Your Utah, Your Future”, Director Kathleen Clarke, director of Utah’s Public Land’s policy Coordinating Office, commented on the results, saying “Utahans recognize a need for energy. But I think they are saying we need to be thoughtful about development and about uses. We need to pay particular attention to watersheds.”
As Utahans voice their concerns on land development and preservation, the state government is following up with results on the survey, which indicated that 54 percent of Utahans want public lands managed to maintain and improve ecosystems and watersheds. Utahans also want their state government to focus on providing recreational access and foster jobs and economic development.
The preservation of public land for conservation reasons is also a primary finding in the survey. 29 percent of survey takers would like more Utah land to be set aside for preservation, with envisioned focus on energy development and the grazing of livestock.
Differing opinions also persist in the use of Utah’s land. 11 percent of the survey takers insisted on the use of more land for energy development and livestock grazing.
Land preservation continues to play an important role in public discourse as water shortages and inefficient conservation methods plague land development initiatives in the United States. It is important to note that preserving contiguous natural lands is important to sustain the environment.
To learn more about the Utahn Survey on land preservation, click here