Utah - San Rafael Swell

State: Utah

The San Rafael Swell, with its miles of twisting sandstone spires, towering mesas and hoodoos, has long been a draw for hiking and canyoneering, and parts of the area have been considered for protection under various designations such as national park, national monument, national conservation area, and wilderness.

The BLM is proposing an oil and gas lease sale for the Molen Reef region of the western San Rafael Swell—an area dense with cultural and archaeological sites and outstanding recreational opportunities. The agency’s initial decision to offer these leases in 2013 drew immediate and widespread criticism, with the BLM ultimately deciding that it hadn’t properly studied the cultural and archaeological resources in the area. In 2015, the BLM again deferred leases in the area, citing a lack of cultural and archaeological resource information

The agency has yet to complete the cultural resource inventories and is in no stronger a position to justify leasing now than it was in 2013.

Wild Lands