Rallying for access to public lands

Utah residents and public officials, joined by members of the Utah State Legislature held one of Utah’s largest political rallies on Capital Hill on Aug. 8 in an effort to reclaim public lands that have been unlawfully seized by the Federal Government.

The rally began with citizens who had traveled long distances just to let their voices be heard. Citizens charged up the hill in a parade of ATV’s and uniquely designed vehicles that served the occasion, as well as home-made signs indicating protests of disapproval toward those seeking to claim that which was not theirs.

Participating were citizens from Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Idaho and a few other states. The parade began at 400 s. and ended in front of the capital, the number of attendants exceeded five hundred within minutes.

As the parade drew to a close, participants quickly gathered to hear remarks from members of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The speakers included Senators Orrin Hatch and Bob Bennett, Representative Levar Christensen and Congressman Rob Bishop. All expressed their frustrations and empathy with all who were present for the lack of being enabled to have a voice in what happens to Utah’s public lands.

Some of the citizens expressed anger and frustration over the fact that the Federal Government has continued a covert operation to obtain land which is not rightfully theirs given they have bypassed the legislative process of going through state officials to seek approval of the seizure of lands.

Covertness is the first stage of not only disloyalty, but tyranny. One of the things discussed in the rally was the impact the seizure of land would have on Utah’s public education system. If land is seized, then taxes rise due to user fees which are levied upon the public, and when this happens, the costs for living, education, as well as a vast number of other assets go up.

“If you want your kid to go to college, Utah has to have control of the land,” said Bishop as he addressed his audience. “I’m simply an old school teacher, but I’m watching… as the western states who are having the hardest time raising money for their schools are weighed with a higher tax burden than in the east because we don’t get the money if we don’t control the land.”

Addresses continued as various other legislators had the opportunity to state the facts, encouraging citizens to take action and reclaim their lands. Students were especially encouraged to voice their opinions and join in the effort of making Utah a better place to live. For more information, or to take action, students can visit http://www.takebackutah.org/

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