important shift took place on Utah's public lands, which amounted to
some 33,530,000 acres (or 64 percent of the state). In 1900 stockgrowers
had the best claim to and strongest interest in Utah's federal lands.
But with multiple use concepts other interests emerged. Inhabitants
of cities concerned with watershed management and flood control were
important early. Later, as national parks were created and other agencies
shifted their thinking, tourists and recreationists became increasingly
important. One result of this has been a sharp drop in the land access
enjoyed by stockmen. Utah's support of the Sagebrush Rebellion in the
late 1970s and the conservative policy of the Department of Interior
was closely related to concern over the use of public lands.
traditional agrarian interests also continued to appeal to many urban
Utahns. This was apparent in the flourishing of the Mormon Welfare Program
after 1936. The so-called "Stake Welfare Farm" - an agricultural project
operated for and by one or more Mormon stakes - dotted some traditional
farm districts near the population centers. In more rural areas the
projects often managed livestock operations that utilized church-owned
farms and range land as well as public grazing permits. By the mid-1980s
the volunteer labor aspect of this process had begun to diminish, but
for decades the Mormon church had pushed a program in which many non-farmers
practiced rural values and skills and in an emotional sense, if not
indeed legally, shared in farm ownership.