Black Diamond supports America's Red Rock Wilderness Act
America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act (H.R. 1925) is an act that will protect nine million acres of BLM land in southern Utah by declaring it as wilderness. Active outdoor recreation is a sustainable, clean and growing industry (it’s one of Utah’s top five industries), and it requires the preservation and protection of the amazing, iconoclastic landscapes that we have been blessed with. We here at Black Diamond are doing our best to insure that the environment—in southern Utah and elsewhere—is preserved and respected for generations of recreationalists to come, and part of that effort is our endorsement of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act.
In light of the importance of America's Red Rock Wilderness Act, we feel the need to clarify a few points, mistruths and false representations surrounding this proposed legislation. The facts:
• Of the 20,000 miles worth of dirt roads and ways identified by the BLM in their proposed new management plans for just some of these areas, only 3,000 miles would be brought into question and they are not roads but rather a labyrinth of faint tracks through the desert.
• It is likely that no road you are currently driving a pick-up truck on to access climbing, hiking, camping, mountain biking or canyoneering would be closed.
• 70% of these nine million acres of wilderness land are within eight city blocks’ distance of an existing road that will remain open.
• Bolts are allowed in wilderness—both the placing and replacing of existing bolts. Bolting was grandfathered in as historical use.
• You would not see oil and gas drilling on the lands protected by America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, but the five million acres of BLM already auctioned off would continue to be available for oil and gas development.
• No mountain bike trails would be closed as a result of this act being passed.
To be absolutely clear, Black Diamond is not against Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) users—what we seek is balance. Mountain biking and motorized dirt biking is popular with numerous employees here at Black Diamond and we support their continued ability to access the 17,000 miles of dirt roads and trails on the land covered in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act related to these new resource management plans. What we do not support is a shortsighted approach that would keep every single inch of southern Utah land—trail or no trail—open to ORV traffic. We all must realize that there are such things as mutually incompatible uses. You don’t build large industrial factories in residential areas and you don’t hold rock concerts in churches nor should we allow ATV’ing or extractive industries on our most revered wilderness landscapes.
Our CEO and founder Peter Metcalf knows firsthand the importance of keeping drilling and excavation operations far from our scenic areas and national parks of southern Utah—he spent two winters as a chain-hand drilling for oil on a wildcat rig in the Utah/Wyoming over-thrust belt. He can assure you that drilling and excavation operations detract from your outdoor experience, the environment, the air quality and the purity of the water. It should be noted that it’s been estimated that southern Utah holds barely 1 percent of the United States oil reserves and 2.5 percent of its natural gas reserves, which would add an estimated maximum of four days of oil and less than four weeks of natural gas to the nation’s supply—both numbers so small they barely warrant drilling in the first place, especially when you consider the visual and physical damage such developments have on the environment.
Peter Metcalf is such a strong supporter of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act that he appeared in front of Congress on September 30th, testifying to its importance on behalf of Black Diamond Equipment and the Outdoor Industry Association. Black Diamond as a company, as well as numerous other companies and environmental groups throughout the nation, believes this act is of the utmost importance and wholeheartedly supports and endorses the generational and environmental significance of this act.
To borrow a quote from futurist Stewart Brand, “Natural systems are priceless in value and nearly impossible to replace; cost you nothing to create and they are cheap to maintain. All you have to do is defend them.” That is what Black Diamond is doing and will continue to do.
The employee owners of Black Diamond