Center for Western Priorities launches nationwide U-Turn Utah campaign to focus attention on consequences of state efforts to seize public lands

May 24, 2016

GRAND JUNCTION—The dire economic consequences and lack of public support for the state seizure of national public lands are highlighted in the Center for Western Priorities’ summer-long U-Turn Utah advertising campaign, which held its Colorado kickoff at the trailhead for the renowned Lunch Loops mountain bike trails.

“The parks and public lands inside of Utah belong to all Americans, whether you live in Nevada, Colorado, Ohio, or Utah—these are your public lands. But the politicians in Utah have plans to sue the federal government in an irresponsible attempt to take over outdoor spaces that belong to all of us,” said Jennifer Rokala, Executive Director at the Center for Western Priorities. “As Americans make their summer vacation plans, we want people across the country to know what Utah’s politicians have planned for our public lands.”

Utah leaders are trying to export their land seizure agenda, and Mesa County, Colorado is a prime target.

Mesa County elected officials are supporting Utah’s efforts through their financial support of the American Lands Council, the Utah-based organization leading an effort across the West to compel the U.S. government to dispose of public lands into state and private hands.

“This effort to seize America’s public lands is deeply threatening to the outdoor recreation industry. Our business model is built around people accessing America’s wide open spaces, but we risk losing it all if states like Utah take control, lease, and sell off our lands.” said Seth Anderson, founder of Loki USA, an outdoor technical wear manufacturer based in Grand Junction.

The state of Utah is currently spending millions of dollars on its “Road to Mighty” tourism campaign that tells Americans that Utah’s public lands are their “birthright.” The ads are correct; Utah’s public lands do belong to all Americans. At the same time, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has signed legislation to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on a frivolous lawsuit intended to take that birthright away.

As Utah works to export its land-seizure agenda to the rest of the country, the Center for Western Priorities’ U-Turn Utah campaign will remind outdoor users that the state must make a U-turn from this hypocrisy and stop trying to take public lands away from the American people.

“Western Colorado has become a world class outdoor adventure destination thanks to the national public lands right out the backdoor. My business thrives because of the trails, the backcountry access, and the unbelievable beauty of our public lands.” said Troy Rarick, owner of Over the Edge Sports in Fruita.

The six-­figure U-Turn Utah campaign targets outdoor recreation enthusiasts and policymakers with billboards in Denver, Phoenix, Reno and Salt Lake City, with print ads in prominent outdoor magazines, and digital advertising.

To learn about the campaign, visit Video from this week’s launch events in Utah and Colorado along with assets from the U-Turn Utah print and outdoor ads are available at

For more information or to speak with an expert about American public lands, contact Aaron Weiss at 720-369-9252.