Letter to the Editor: Destruction of Public Lands
For years I have visited Utah approximately every other summer. For two summers I have volunteered in a Passport In Time project with the Ashley National Forest. I have always loved the landscapes and recreational opportunities in the National Parks of Utah (Arches, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef primarily), National Forests, and other public lands.
During this summer's trip and work project of approximately one month I came to the following conclusions. I will not volunteer in the National Forests in Utah and I will definitely limit my travel in Utah.
The reasons for my decision are pretty simple. During the volunteer project I saw first hand what happens to OHV tracks when it rains. A massive amount of soil was washed down the 'trail' and inundated one of the volunteer's tent with mud. Also, wherever we traveled in Utah, the landscapes were covered with OHV tracks. The worst area I observed was between Hanksville and Capitol Reef National Park.
If the citizens of Utah are not willing to curtail the destruction of their landscapes, I feel they will lose a lot of other visitors beside me. I think the problem can be corrected by enforcement and if it's not being done, perhaps the message to visitors is that this is the kind of mess the citizens of Utah are happy with?