To members of the Grand County Council:
My name is Marcia Tendick. I have called Grand County home for 19 years and have grown to love this place more than any other place I have lived in the United States.
I love the rural, small-town nature and the beautiful canyons, deserts, rivers and mountains. Because I care about this place and now have grandchildren growing up here, it has become important to me to protect it for the future.
I attended the last of the public hearings on Tuesday, March 17. Because I had written several letters to you in the past, I didn’t think I needed to speak at the hearing. However, it became clear that many people were speaking again repeating what their concerns were in the past, so I wish I had spoken also.
It saddens me to hear so many of the local residents droning on about their desire to keep Grand County from having any more wilderness, for desiring no roads be closed and to be able to drive their off-road vehicles where ever they choose, with no thought about preservation for the future. I was particularly blindsided by their expressed desire NOT to protect the watersheds for this county! I think it is important to look at all the public input on the Bishop Process going back many months, and include both written and verbal comments for balance.
I do hope that the rude, insulting and hateful rhetoric you were subject to at that meeting does not influence you to consider their position the dominant one in the county. Much of what I heard was heated and ugly, but there was little in the way of meaningful understanding of what is at stake. Whatever you decide to include in your proposal to Rep. Bishop will impact Moab for years to come. It will be important to weigh the content of the comments you have received. I applaud you for saying no to the Book Cliffs Highway. I hope that idea has been put to rest for good!
The following recommendations from the Grand Canyon Trust which I support are:
· Designate wilderness in the La Sal Mountains. Every other county in the PLI process has recommended new Forest Service wilderness, but the Grand County Council has recommended zero. The council must recommend wilderness protection for the mountains that frame Delicate Arch and provide clean drinking water to Moab and Castle Valley.
· Designate Labyrinth Canyon as true wilderness. It is the only flat-water red rock wilderness river run in the American West.
· Keep the river corridor in Labyrinth quiet by closing three ATV and jeep trails that run down to the river: Hey Joe, Hell Roaring and “Dead Cow/The Tubes.” The serene wilderness experience of river runners in Labyrinth should be protected from the roar of motorcycles along the banks of the Green River.
· Protect the views of Arches National Park by expanding the proposed National Conservation Area (NCA) four miles east of the National Park.
· Designate areas to be managed as “roadless areas” within the proposed NCA following the “Daggett County model” already approved by our Congressional delegation.
· Close infrequently used routes in all proposed wilderness in Grand County, especially in the Westwater-Beaver Creek proposed wilderness on the eastern side of the county. There should be places where Moab visitors can find quiet and get away from roads and the sounds of off-road vehicles.
There were some very nasty and unnecessary remarks at the meeting regarding the input of groups like SUWA, the Sierra Club and the Grand Canyon Trust. Each of those entities has done very careful research and has the interest of not just the people of Grand County, but of all those who enjoy this beautiful place now and will in the future. Grand County is a part of the United States and the land that has been set aside here by federal decisions over the years is for all the people of the United States. We may be the fortunate residents but we are also the guardians and protectors of this special place and should appreciate and honor that sacred trust.
Thank you for all your work in parsing the many issues and opinions.