Dear Editor,

My name is Misty Adams, and I am a transplant to Moab and Grand County. In the six years I have been here, I have heard and seen the blatant disregard of the heritage and history of this area. I have heard the stories of the locals, their grandparents, their cousins and friends. This beautiful, remote and lovely place has a rich and amazing history.

All of that being said, I understand that times change. There are hundreds of thousands visitors to our beautiful area each year; they each come for their own reasons. Some seek easily found solitude, some seek the thrill of a jeeping adventure, or a rappel down a cliff side. We are now a tourist destination with a wide range of activities for every level of ability and need. This is an amazing and wild place. Wonderful to visit, hard to live in.

I work a full-time, un-benefited job for eight months out of the year. I then take unemployment for four months! When I sign up for unemployment, all I have to say is that I live in Moab. Their response is “Oh, yes, we’ll take off the job hunt requirements.” I am 40 years old, with decent work experience and education. My husband is a fifth-year teacher, making barely over $34,000 a year with a double bachelor. Thank goodness we do not have kids; we would never be able to make ends meet. We are lucky to own the home we are in. If we tried to purchase that same home today, we could not afford to. But you see, I love living here. I love the old timers, the kids, the town. I love the wild, vistas and trails.

I would also love to see families making ends meet, not relying on foodstamps and unemployment. Parents able to find good, full-time, year-round, benefited jobs.

This could happen by allowing SITLA trade-in, in areas that can supply oil, gas and potash. By allowing this county to receive some real income, we can provide jobs, and benefits to many residents.

Some of you may know my husband, some of you may not, but he has a disability called CMT. This disability makes it impossible for him to hike, walk, raft, climb. He is limited to motorized recreation. Most of the council has voted to make wilderness in areas that don’t qualify as wilderness. Maybe you don’t understand what wilderness is. The dictionary definition of wilderness is:

1. a tract or region uncultivated and uninhabited by human beings

2. an area essentially undisturbed by human activity

3. an empty or pathless area or region.

You are recommending “building wilderness” in areas that don’t qualify; you will potentially be closing roads down that are the only access that people, like my husband, have to these areas. I was told in a council meeting, “He can see it from the cherry stems.” You are basically thinking selfishly, not allowing a significant portion of people from ever seeing areas that they currently have access to. For reference: 13.3 million Americans used a wheelchair or assistive mobility device.

I am beginning to believe this kind of inaccessibility is your goal. But, you must understand: These lands do not just belong to you. They belong to every person here, and the federal lands to every person in America.

I have been to the council meetings. You continue to say that you will “only” close non Jeep Safari roads. Well, good on you, but there are other beautiful, and less-used roads that we don’t want to see closed either!

I am also frustrated with constantly hearing what SUWA, or Red Rock Heritage Act, or the Grand Canyon Trust recommends. They are organizations; they should not have a say. We, as the residents of Grand County, should be able to decide what to do with our lands without these organizations determining what is best for a community they do not live in.