Leave natural wonders be
Received Dec. 5
Places like the Colorado Plateau seem to render our lives insignificant. Those banded bare rock mesas and canyons lie today mostly as they did before “civilized” people first confronted them hundreds of years ago. They are also virtually unchanged from when humans first visited them 12,000 years earlier.
The lands of western Colorado, southern Utah and northern Arizona are a masterpiece of nature. Their value remains unquantifiable. We can consider their ability to graze cattle, offer scattered land for settlements and towns, give us places to recreate and provide mineral “wealth”.
Every mine we dig, road or trail we build, city we expand or landfill we create will alter them only on human time scales, but that’s our reality, the here-and-now of life. I love the lands of the Colorado Plateau; they moved me from the moment I first confronted the abyss of Grand Canyon as a toddler and I cherish them still.
But speaking as one person, alive for the moment, I realize the Plateau belongs not only to me, or the people who reside there, or the people who may sometimes visit there or the people who will never visit. Those magnificent colored canyons and mesas belong to all of us, and in a sense they “belong” to none of us as well. Leave them be.
(Word count: 218)
RICK L. DAVIS
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this letter mentioned “The lands of eastern Colorado, southern Utah and northern Arizona…” To reflect the author’s intent, it has been corrected to “western Colorado.”