Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

August 1993


Published in Great Plains Research 3:2 (August 1993). Copyright © 1993 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


This is a set of papers on the problems of establishing and managing Western arid land wilderness. All are sensible, and together they provide a judicious and reasonably complete introduction to this specialized area of land management. The book begins with the editors' introduction, followed by Utah Congressman Wayne Owens' discussion of Utah's arid lands and their value as wilderness. This, a pleasant surprise, rises above the usual level of Congressional commentary for constituents. Three case studies follow. One concerns raptor preservation on the Snake River, another the conflicting interests of bighorn sheep and horses, the third fish preservation in desert waters. Each is detailed enough to give a feel for its subject; taken together they indicate the nature and range of problems connected with arid land wilderness. Cattlemen, whose activities are the major and continuing influence in the region, have the next chapter. Then there is a survey of Utah's wilderness lands, with a short section on each BLM area. The book ends with an economic analysis that takes into account the non-monetary benefits of wilderness and discusses in a cogent manner changes in economic definitions to accommodate environmental realities.