The Wallace Stegner Center’s 24th annual symposium, to be held on Thursday and Friday, March 21 and 22, 2019, will address the timely topic of “Recreation Challenges on Public Lands.” In recent years, outdoor recreation has become a primary use of the public lands, creating myriad conflicts, challenges, and opportunities. A substantial portion of the public domain is managed for recreation in the form of national parks, national monuments, wilderness areas, and the like, drawing millions of visitors annually. Outdoor recreation is now big business, constituting two percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), which is more than agriculture, mining, or oil and gas development individually contribute to the nation’s GDP. Conflicts have grown more intense between recreation users (e.g. hikers, mountain bikers, and ATVers), and new environmental problems have surfaced in the form of soil erosion, water pollution, and wildlife displacement, while the land management agencies lack the necessary resources to effectively address these problems.
The symposium will first examine the economic, social, and legal framework for recreation on the public lands, and then extract lessons from specific recreation problems in the Wasatch Mountains and the Moab area. The symposium will conclude with panel discussions designed to put emergent recreation issues in perspective and to offer potential solutions to them.
Sally Jewell, the 51st United States Secretary of the Interior in the administration of President Barack Obama, will be the keynote speaker for the symposium. For a full list of speakers and an agenda, please look online at the Stegner Center at www.law.utah.edu/stegner .