When will the leg­is­la­ture real­ize that the pub­lic does not want to see the Wasatch Moun­tains bar­ri­cad­ed with ‘No Tres­pass­ing’ signs, the Book Cliffs lost to tar sand strip mines or Arch­es Nation­al Park ringed with oil and gas devel­op­ment?” he said in a statement.

The group launched a radio and tele­vi­sion cam­paign this week aimed at drum­ming up oppo­si­tion to the plan, describ­ing it as a “land grab.” The ads allege that man­ag­ing the lands would be so cost­ly that Utah would be forced to sell or lease them to pri­vate developers.

But that means Uta­hans would lose access to the lands that formed our her­itage,” says the tele­vi­sion ad, which shows peo­ple fish­ing and horse­back rid­ing. “Seiz­ing pub­lic lands: A bad idea we can’t afford.”

Mr. Ivory dis­missed the attacks as “fear tac­tics,” point­ing out that the law includes only lands des­ig­nat­ed for mul­ti­ple use — in oth­er words, eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment — and not nation­al parks or nation­al monuments.

They’re try­ing to get peo­ple to think that the sky is falling, and it’s just not,” Mr. Ivory said. “In fact, Utah passed the only state wilder­ness act so that, as the lands are trans­ferred, we des­ig­nate the unique her­itage sites as state wilder­ness to be pro­tect­ed under the guide­lines the state establishes.”

He point­ed to the report, which he says shows “clear­ly Utah can afford to do this with­out sell­ing off any land. None of that is contemplated.”

These are tac­tics by those who just want to keep mak­ing mon­ey by suing the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment,” Mr. Ivory said, refer­ring to envi­ron­men­tal groups.

He point­ed out that trans­fer­ring fed­er­al lands to state con­trol has the sup­port of the Amer­i­can Farm Bureau, the Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Coun­ties and the Repub­li­can Nation­al Com­mit­tee. A half-dozen West­ern states are expect­ed to con­sid­er sim­i­lar pro­pos­als in next year’s leg­isla­tive ses­sion, while bills have been intro­duced in Con­gress to sup­port the idea.

For­mer Inte­ri­or Sec­re­tary Ken Salazar slammed the Utah leg­is­la­tion in 2012, say­ing it “defied com­mon sense,” and accused law­mak­ers of play­ing politics.

As far as Mr. Ivory is con­cerned, how­ev­er, shift­ing man­age­ment to the states would be far prefer­able than keep­ing the lands under the increas­ing­ly tight con­trol of the fed­er­al government.

Under increas­ing fed­er­al con­trol, access is being restrict­ed. The health of the land is dimin­ish­ing hor­ri­bly. And the pro­duc­tiv­i­ty is depressed,” Mr. Ivory said. “This is the only way to get bet­ter access, bet­ter health and bet­ter productivity.”