Letter to the Editor: Regression
There once was a community in Southern Utah that could have had enough foresight to see the coming of restrictions placed on their backyard (desert area) by the Bureau of Land Management and other demons such as the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. Escalante and the surrounding communities had no choice in their destination and President Clinton declared the Staircase a national monument.
Instead of taking action and work with the President the people decided the best way to get beneficial use of the land was to "leave it as it is" and maybe bureaucracy would go away. "Maybe we can create a new designation and be okay". The President thought the best way to deal with the uniqueness of the area was to declare a national monument, without the citizens input. Now the Staircase is a national monument with no local control and the people are very unhappy.
I'm sure it was fear of the unknown or concern because of observations made from the latest national monument designation that caused most of the voters, in Emery County, to shun the obvious superior land control opportunity of having the San Rafael become a national monument. Now we are in a mode of scramble to gain control. Whereas, if the national monument status had been placed on the lands by a simple stroke of one mans hand, the President of the United States, it would have been completed. Local control by committee would now be in place. Any status rendered to local control at this point will have to be given them by an act of Congress and this will take several years to complete.
"They should just shut down the whole area and keep everyone off the public lands." This is a general statement, made sarcastically but heard frequently from the area people. Another well rehearsed phrase would be: "They won't stop until they have things controlled the way they want it." The question arises from these statements. Who are "they"? Maybe, "they" in a newly created national monument could have been us, the citizens directly affected in the area. Now, we only read about what "they" are doing to the area as in the Progress article titled, Wild and Scenic, an inventory by the BLM of the rivers and streams. The Public Lands Council (PLC) is asking for your input on asking Congress to establish a heritage designation. This will be the fourth attempt to gain heritage status. The first three were unsuccessful. It is agreed upon by the majority of the citizens that there is a need to control ones destiny. The procedure of destiny control should be completed by an education process involving public input, a fact finding course and subjective reasoning. Did the PLC and county commissioners not bring to light the consequences associated with defeating the national monument issue. One county commissioner took a firm stand and testified the positive effects of the monument designation. Others seemed to be concerned of their political status more importantly. It seems that the importance of "local control" was opted not to continue during the fair election process.