I read Curtis Wells’ recent opinion piece with great interest ( “Economic reality,” Sept 17-23, 2015 Moab Sun News). Owning and operating a small business in neighboring Uintah County for over 20 years, I’ve survived the cyclical economic swings of the unstable extraction industry. I understand the value of having tax revenue through the mineral royalties returned back to the counties of origin to mitigate industry impacts on local infrastructure. Improvements made have also helped us diversify our local economy and better meet the growing demands of our tourism industry. Grand County has immense natural resources available that, if responsibly managed, could provide greater economic stability to the county through improvements made to county infrastructure.
Last month my wife and I spent a weekend in Moab golfing, and enjoying the rich natural beauty of the area. It was apparent to me the struggles the community has of funding infrastructure improvements needed on tourism income alone. A balanced management approach is desperately needed. There is no reason your community can’t have and enjoy the economic benefits of both.
Uintah County is home to a national monument and world-class fishing, river rafting and outdoor recreation. We also have beneath our feet vast resources that can meet the domestic energy needs of our nation for generations and will better support the economy of Utah as a whole. We have demonstrated that a balanced public lands strategy works. I feel now is the time to set aside our philosophical differences and seek common ground for healthy regional growth.
I applaud Mr. Wells’ efforts to bring awareness to this issue and share his vision for a more diversified public lands management approach to better meet the growing needs of Grand County.