Yesterday, as I was waiting in a long line of cars to get into Arches, I thought back to the mid- 1980s, when cows ran rampant in the park. These fly-ridden animals spoiled the scenery, trampled the crust and devoured precious park vegetation. They were trespassing! Breaking the law! And infinitely more disturbing, they were bringing in only pitiful quantities of cash. With the energetic help of eager eco-modernists, we managed to compel the Park Service to finally eject the ungainly beasts.
In their place, a lovely cash cow arose from the womb of Phynance. Scenery, not grass, was to be consumed. Over the intervening years, our industrial tourism cash cow has ballooned beyond our wildest dreams. Thousands and thousands of tourists now frolic freely in every secret place in the desert and voraciously consume an ever-expanding array of outdoor products.
Recently there has been talk of limiting visitation to Arches, and even – horror of horrors – limiting commercial development. Of course, the mistake the unenlightened make is to accept that tourists and second-home buyers need to consume scenery on the open range. Our insatiable hunger for cash and the philosophical recommendations of the eco-modernists demand that we make the feedlot, not open pastures, our management paradigm. Just go to Greely! See how far the science of cramming mammals together has advanced!
As I continued waiting in the seemingly interminable line of cars, my ears were saddened by the lack of the music of street-legal ATVs whose symphony gladdens the streets of Moab.
Then I remembered the dictatorial decree just handed down from on high by Palmer Jenkins, acting regional director for the National Park Service. This authoritarian edict will finally permit these immensely profitable playthings to frolic at will in all Utah national parks. I can only compare this infinitely wise move to a huge shot of bovine growth hormone into the posterior of our already obese industrial tourism cash cow.
As I was finally getting close to the entrance station, I contemplated the twin cash calves to which our industrial tourism cash cow has given birth: the construction cash cow and the real estate cash cow. Citizens of Moab, a financial apotheosis awaits us as we glide luxuriously into our glorious destiny – becoming the Cash Cow Capital of the west.
When I finally reached the entrance station my head was so filled with grandeur, not to mention exhaust fumes, that I completely forgot to thank the smiling ranger for kicking the cows out of the park back in the 1980s.
I then zoomed up through snarls of traffic to The Windows to take a few selfies.