highway 12
Scenic Highway 12, photo by Liz Thomas

 

Editor's Note: Thank you for your interest in protecting Highway 12. The BLM officials that we targeted with this alert have told us they've heard from a large number of concerned citizens and we are in the process of contacting them regarding Highway 12. Therefore this alert is no longer active.  We will keep you updated as we get more information.

Highway 12, the breath-taking road through the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument from Boulder to Escalante, is so spectacular that it is a destination in itself.  Who can forget their first trip over the Hogback?   Designated a Scenic Byway and All-America Road, Highway 12 offers 360 degree views that span 50 miles or more, over the canyons of the Escalante, Fifty Mile Mountain, the Kaiparowits Plateau, and beyond to Navajo Mountain  but Highway 12 as we know it, is now in danger from overzealous road builders.

Federal Highway Administration (FHA) and Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) road engineers are plotting to “improve” the road and want a 200-foot wide right-of-way in which to do their dirty work.  This will turn a wonderful and remote stretch of road (the road is currently 22-34 foot-wide) into a straighter, more generic version of itself, while taking away its charm and character.  Highway 12 is under the legal jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and BLM should maintain control of Highway 12 to ensure the character of the road is not sacrificed in the name of progress.  This arrangement works, and is similar to road maintenance agreements in nearby Zion and Capitol Reef National Parks. 

Please ask BLM to maintain control of Highway 12 as it winds through the slickrock canyons and sandstone domes of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument from Escalante to Boulder.

Granting a 200 foot-wide right-of-way to the highway agencies will terminate BLM’s authority to manage this scenic route through the Monument and will give the road engineers free rein to turn this one-of-a-kind road into a major highway that resembles a road in Anywhere, USA.

Please take a moment to contact Drew Parkin and Carl Rountree, and urge them to reject the FHA’s right-of-way application.  Please personalize your letter, emphasizing that you have driven on Highway 12, and that Highway 12 is an unforgettable introduction to the Grand Staircase Escalante Monument experience.

Thank you!

Liz Thomas
SUWA Field Attorney
Moab, Utah

 

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