PUBLIC LANDS Scenarios:
Choices for
the Future

The following scenarios were created by the Agriculture, Recreation, and Public Lands Action Team to represent possible outcomes for Utah’s public lands in 2050. The scenarios differed in how much public land was used for different purposes, including energy development, grazing, recreation, and preservation. The scenarios were presented to the public as part of the Your Utah, Your Future survey in spring 2015.

The scenarios were titled Allosaurus, Bonneville Trout, Quaking Aspen, Seagull, and Sego Lily (the state fossil, fish, tree, bird, and flower):

ALLOSAURUS SCENARIO

PublicLands Scenarios Allosaurus

By 2050, more of our public lands are used for high-intensity purposes:

  • Energy production (fossil fuels and renewables) and mining increase.
  • Lands managed to preserve natural character (including wilderness) and low-impact recreation (hiking, fishing, etc.) stay the same.
  • High-impact recreation (e.g., use of off-highway vehicles) increases.
  • Grazing increases, without the use of new rotational techniques.
  • Recreational facilities like trails and campgrounds do not significantly expand.

In comparison to today, by 2050:

  • Statewide jobs, economic development, and tax revenue increase.
  • Rural Utah jobs, economic development, and tax revenue increase, primarily in high energy-producing counties.
  • Ecosystem health declines.
  • The ability of watersheds to capture stormwater for water supply and flood prevention is lower.
  • Our ability to meet our energy needs is greater.
  • Our ability to meet our recreation needs is much lower.
  • Conflicts between increasing numbers of recreational users and other users increase.

BONNEVILLE TROUT SCENARIO

PublicLands Scenarios Bonneville

By 2050, federal and state public lands in Utah are managed similar to today:

  • Energy production (fossil fuels and renewables) and mining stay the same.
  • Lands managed to preserve natural character (including wilderness) and low-impact recreation (hiking, fishing, etc.) stay the same.
  • High-impact recreation (e.g., use of off-highway vehicles) stays the same.
  • Grazing stays the same.
  • Recreational facilities like trails and campgrounds expand at half the rate needed to accommodate increased demand.

In comparison to today, by 2050:

  • Statewide jobs, economic development, and tax revenue stay the same.
  • Rural Utah jobs, economic development, and tax revenue stay the same.
  • Ecosystem health stays the same.
  • The ability of watersheds to capture stormwater for water supply and flood prevention stays the same.
  • Our ability to meet our energy needs is lower.
  • Our ability to meet our recreation needs is lower.
  • Conflicts between increasing numbers of recreational users and other users increase.

Seagull and Quaking Aspen SCENARIO

PublicLands Scenarios SeagullQuaking

Advocates for different uses of public lands compromise, and by 2050, Utah’s public lands are used for a balance of high-intensity and low-intensity purposes. While lands managed to preserve natural character expand, we also allow for more agriculture, mining, and recreation in some areas. Energy production increases in some areas, even as we prohibit some lands from being used for energy development. Additional lands designated for preservation are balanced by an increase in lands that allow high-impact recreation, like the use of off-highway vehicles.

As a result:

  • Energy production (fossil fuels and renewables) and mining increase somewhat.
  • Lands managed to preserve natural character (including wilderness) and low-impact recreation (hiking, fishing, etc.) increase somewhat.
  • High-impact recreation (e.g., use of off-highway vehicles) increases somewhat.
  • Grazing increases somewhat, and new rotational grazing techniques are explored to improve habitat and watershed functionality.
  • Recreational facilities like trails and campgrounds expand to accommodate increased demand.

In comparison to today, by 2050:

  • Statewide jobs, economic development, and tax revenue increase.
  • Rural Utah jobs, economic development, and tax revenue increase.
  • Ecosystem health improves.
  • The ability of watersheds to capture stormwater for water supply and flood prevention is better.
  • Our ability to meet our energy needs is greater.
  • Our ability to meet our recreation needs is similar.
  • Conflicts between increased numbers of recreational users and other users decrease.

SEGO LILY SCENARIO

PublicLands Scenarios Sego

By 2050, more of our public lands are used for low-intensity purposes:

  • Energy production (fossil fuels and renewables) and mining decrease.
  • Lands managed to preserve natural character (including wilderness) and low-impact recreation (hiking, fishing, etc.) increase.
  • High-impact recreation (e.g., use of off-highway vehicles) decreases.
  • Grazing decreases.
  • Recreational facilities like trails and campgrounds expand to accommodate increased demand.

In comparison to today, by 2050:

  • Statewide jobs, economic development, and tax revenue decrease.
  • Rural Utah jobs, economic development, and tax revenue decrease.
  • Ecosystem health improves.
  • The ability of watersheds to capture stormwater for water supply and flood prevention is better.
  • Our ability to meet our own energy needs is much lower.
  • Our ability to meet our recreation needs is the same.
  • Conflicts between increased numbers of recreational users and other users decrease.