I love a good fight, but I am frustrated that I feel like all the letters I write and all the complaining I do just might not help. We found many old bottles and cans for my junk collection and came upon a road that is seldom used. Knowing it will be one of the roads closed soon, we took it.
As many people in San Juan County know, I am an avid hiker, backpacker, Jeeper, ATVer, and camper. I love the outdoors. I love the solitude of heading to Cedar Mesa. We saw only three cars all day today. I avoid some areas where there is over-crowding already.
The trails into the canyons of Grand Gulch and Bullet are pounded down so deep that the more people that come and use them will make it so soon you will not be able to see out of them. At the end of that road we sat alongside the very steep edge of Arch Canyon, which is a beautiful, deep, red rock wonderland.
Looking at the road in the bottom made me feel good knowing everyone, whether handicapped, less-enabled, older, overweight, or just more comfortable in an air conditioned 4-wheel drive vehicle can enjoy this Canyon. This freedom will end soon.
How sad you have to fit into a mold to enjoy this beauty. We sat in silence looking across the canyon at the ruins that were there. Saddened at knowing they will be loved to unrecognizable death soon by hoards of people trying to access them.
Then we went down the road and I saw a coyote running from us. We next saw tracks of a cougar. On the mountain we saw deer, elk, squirrels, rabbits and an enormous puff ball. Yes I'm going to eat it (delicious).
All of this is going to change. The animals will be affected! More tails of lizards will be pulled off by children visiting the monument. The cougar will be “put down” for attacking some stupid “city folk” when in reality you are in its territory. Territory we as locals respect. The deer and elk and rabbits and squirrels will be hit, run over, poached or fed candy bars and plastic bottles from unaware travelers.
The camping spots that are from tourists already have bottles, cans, wrappers and "buried" waste left behind. We as locals clean them up. Yes, I know the difference between a local camp spot and a tourist. The fireplaces are built different.
I absolutely oppose a monument. The government has already done harm by advertising our area. We love it and we want to share it. We have never turned anyone down from seeing it and enjoying it. It belongs to everyone. The pristine nature of it that everyone loves now will be gone if this land is taken from local control and given to the federal government to disrespect the land and control it from behind a desk with a pen.
It will be controlled by people that do not live here and have not experienced it and they have the idea that in order to go outside you have to have sidewalks or you will get lost.
The government representatives that have come to seek local support or non support need to be fair. Go on a ride with me in my Jeep. See what I see. Hear my stories. Feel my love. I'll show you that sacred is more than a word on a piece of paper. It's deeper, more spiritual than you could ever imagine and it is felt by all of us. And I really like lizards with tails attached.