Dear Editor,

We first came to the canyon country of Utah in 1979/1980 and have been coming back as visitors ever since then to climb, hike, and mountain bike.

Through the years we have seen many changes to Moab as recreation and tourism flourished. The mountain biking trail system has improved dramatically over the past several years, as well as the services provided by the town.

While these changes have increased our desire to come back again and again, without a doubt the biggest draw has always been the incredible landscape, the scenery, the ecology, the essence and spirit of this amazing desert full of canyons, spires, and ancient history, human and geological.

Many places in our country have great trail systems and abundant recreational opportunities, but none have the uniqueness of Castle Country. It is thus very disturbing to see what is happening with development of the oil and gas rigs such as along scenic Highway 313 leading to a state park and a national park. Continued construction of oil and gas rigs in the most scenic and special of areas here will be a game changer for Moab and surrounding country.

We have noticed degraded air quality the last several years from the once-pristine clear views of the area. There are places on this earth that are too special and precious for such defilement and this area is certainly one of those places. We hope something can be done to curb this trend before it is too late.

In closing, the impact of this oil and gas exploration will not only be measured by the effect and scars it leaves on the landscape, but also by the negative economic impact as visitors to this area discover the once-pristine viewshed having been marred for short-term gain and will take their tourism dollars elsewhere.