As the 50th Anniversary of Canyonlands National Park approaches next month, Utahans and others across the country who love the area are pushing for President Obama to declare the 1.8 million acres of public lands surrounding the park as a new Greater Canyonlands National Monument.
The area is a haven for recreationists -- from river rafters to climbers to jeepers -- but it is under increasing pressure from oil and gas development, potash mining, and even tar sands strip mining. Such industrialization in the heart of Utah's recreation economy -- not to mention at the center of the Colorado River watershed, which provides water for more than 30 million Americans -- would forever mar this still-wild landscape. (Not a single power line traverses the proposed monument area.)
In the following short video, (the third in a series of five short films created by young people on the importance of protecting Greater Canyonlands), Graham Taylor describes how he grew up exploring the deep wild canyons of southern Utah, venturing into their depths by foot and boat – an experience which left him invigorated with a “powerful love of life.”
In a very personal plea, he asks President Obama to protect Greater Canyonlands as a national monument so that his own children can someday find the same inspiration from “this amazing piece of our natural heritage.”
Greater Canyonlands “is currently unprotected and vulnerable to degradation from dirty energy development and poorly regulated off-road vehicle use,” says Taylor. “As a member of the next generation who will inherit these beautiful lands, I have seen firsthand what the mistreatment of our natural lands looks like.”