SALT LAKE CITY -- Four counties proposing wilderness areas in southern Utah are running into opposition from state lawmakers skeptical of any land use restrictions.
Piute County Commissioner Rick Blackwell says the counties want to propose the wilderness protections to Congress for federal authorization and would like the Legislature's support.
Blackwell says the counties have worked for years with groups on both sides of the issues to develop the plans. The proposals would designate hundreds of thousands of acres of federally-owned land as either wilderness or conservation areas that have limited uses.
The counties say the homegrown plans are a way to prevent the federal government from designating wilderness without local input.
Republican Rep. Mike Noel of Kanab says he wants the proposals studied, but is reluctant to support any wilderness designations.