I attended the same meeting as Ms. Truman that was sponsored by the Castle Country Rural Alliance. My take is some what different on the meeting. I would like to applaud the Castle Country Rural Alliance for sponsoring such an informative meeting. I felt that the guest speakers were informed and qualified to represent the information as presented. How often do we get a chance to hear from a former state BLM director? Mr. Parker has more than 20 years of experience with the BLM at both national and state levels. Ms. Truman obviously disagrees with many of the points made by Mr. Parker. I find it very interesting to have listened to Mr. Crawford who is a resident in Garfield County explain how the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument has impacted his life. I noticed that Ms. Truman did not have much to say about his information. Mr. Crawford pointed out that he has not noticed any economic differences since the creation of the GSENM. Ms. Truman points out that a monument would bring an increase in construction and guiding/outfitting jobs. Mr. Crawford is employed in both of these sectors and has not noticed the economic windfall as proclaimed by Ms. Truman.
I applaud Ms. Truman for her efforts in the planning phase of GSENM. Emery County has stated that the language they submit will protect our local interests. We must all be aware that after this proposal is submitted, it will then go through a monument planning process and be taken out of the hands of Emery County and the local voice will no longer be heard. Case in point, Ms. Truman who is a resident of Emery County played a key role in the monument planning of the GSENM. Her position should have been held by a resident of Kane or Garfield County. Having people from outside of the county make decisions is not acceptable in any planning process. How many people from out of Emery County will be placed in key planning positions when this area undergoes the same process?
Mr. Crawford stated that he felt that the voice of the citizens was not heard during the planning process. Ms. Truman stated that the GSENM has 900 miles of open roads of which 550 miles is open to ATV use. This is an embarrassment! Was the voice of the people heard on this? The GSENM consists of over 1.7 million acres and only 550 miles are accessible! This represents .04 percent open to ATVs and .06 percent is open road travel of 1.7 million acres. How is this a fair representation of the desires of the people?
Ms. Truman points out that Kane County is an economic paradise and that a number of jobs have come to the city of Kanab as a direct result of the monument. I find it hard to understand her data. Living in Emery County we are well aware of the fact that the number of school children enrolled is reflective of how stable our economy is. Emery County has lost many jobs in the last several years which have resulted in families relocating and lower school enrollments. In the 1995-96 school year, Kane County School District had 1,440 students. For the 2001-02 school year Kane County has 1,284 enrolled students. Since the creation of the GSENM the Kane County School District has seen a decline of 160 students. According to the office of Workforce Services in Kane County, there has not been a noticeable difference in new jobs that have resulted from the creation of the GSENM.