State and feds commit to working together to manage public lands

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah- (ABC4 News) – It’s not a threat right now, but we all know how devastating wildfires can be in our state.

Governor Gary Herbert says it’s going to get better following what he calls an unprecedented agreement with the federal government.

In Utah, wildfire season seems to be getting longer and more destructive by the year.

“I think we have failed one another in many ways by not managing our forests for a healthy perspective,” said USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue.

That’s why the secretary and governor are saying it’s time to work together.

Wednesday, they signed off on the Agreement for Shared Stewardship between the state and Forest Service.

“This isn’t just an agreement, it’s a commitment to work together in a shared arrangement, a shared stewardship as co-owners, co-stewards of public lands,” said Perdue.

That includes a promise to work together to mitigate wildfire risk, conservation efforts, discussions on roadless rules and grazing rights, and engaging local communities.

“I think this responds to what we see now as an urgent and growing need to manage our forests more effectively,” said Herbert, (R) Utah.

The governor says this agreement creates an ongoing dialogue to meet unique needs of our state.

He says it’s a great step in getting ahead of the devastation.

“Demonstrate our willingness to work together for the good of the whole, for the good of all Americans, for the good of the people of Utah,” said Herbert.

The catastrophic Dollar Ridge Fire ripped through Representative Scott Chew’s district just last year.

He says he’s hopeful but will be watching closely for the next steps.

“There’s been a lot of talking going on, but there’s also been a lot of, where we haven’t been able to talk, so at least it’s a beginning and I would hope we get some action rather than just talk,” said Chew, (R) Jensen.

With this visit to Utah, Secretary Perdue has now visited all 50 states.

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Glen Mills

Chief Political Correspondent

 Glen is honored to be delivering the news of the day every weeknight at 5, 6, and 10 in his home state. He is an award-winning veteran journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team as a weekend anchor in June 2013. Over the years, he held various positions at the station as he worked his way up to the main anchor chair. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent and hosts Inside Utah Politics, which airs every Sunday. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...