Outbound Collective logo

Utah Senator Proposes Getting Rid of Public Lands in the West

Senator Mike Lee wants to eliminate public lands altogether, to get western states to look more like “Missouri or Illinois” instead.

By: Outdoor Alliance + Save to a List

In a series of bizarre tweets (where all quality legislation gets its start), Senator Mike Lee of Utah laid 3 bills he wants to introduce that would overturn America's public land system altogether. 

His three planned bills include:

1.     Virtually eliminating public lands altogether by transferring them to individual states, in the hopes that western states would look more like “Missouri or Illinois”.

2.     Allowing individuals, companies, or local officials to petition to take over and use public land for virtually any reason (from building housing to mining to development), without any public oversight. 

3.     Abolishing the Antiquities Act, the legislation that has protected national lands, many of which have become National Parks, in the state of Utah by requiring immense red tape for new protections of existing public lands.

These kind of threats are not idle. Utah has made inroads in rolling back protections of public lands, and with the current political climate, people who love the outdoors can’t let these ideas gain any traction.

When Rep. Chaffetz introduced a bill last year to sell off 3.3 million acres of public lands in the west, the public responded with a fury, and within a week, he’d made a stunning 180. It is equally, if not more important, to speak out now against these proposals. Let Senator Mike Lee hear it that Americans love their public lands. Sign the petition right now. We’re aiming to get 25,000 signatures we can take to Senator Lee and other key lawmakers this month.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Do you love the outdoors?

Yep, us too. That's why we send you the best local adventures, stories, and expert advice, right to your inbox.


Hiking in comfort: a review of Danner Mountain 600 Evo boots

Meghan White

A peek through God's window

Heather Arnold

A golden happy hour on the California coast

Hannah Sibley

Lake Tahoe's trifecta: 3 Days of adventure at Zephyr Cove

Ranz Navarro

10 Ways to make camping in Yosemite National Park even better

Meghan White