Comments about ‘Letters: Are the people in Idaho and Utah lazy?’

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Published: Tuesday, Sept. 3 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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tranquility base, 00

Montana barely has anyone there to litter but the one that are there care about the beauty of the area. Canada, well face it, is 100 years ahead of the US from an organizational point of view.

LDS Tree-Hugger
Farmington, UT

Some people [the take personal responsibility types]
think "God" is going to come down, and cleanse the Earth,
Thinking that means - cleaning up OUR mess.

I couldn't disagree more.

btw - In Canada, Billboards account for "pollution" also.


well Doug, your description of our roads reminded me of what I thought of California roads at the turn of the century. I15 is a road for all. Alberta isn't the crossroads of anywhere in particular.
So I suspect we are not lazy, we perhaps need to be more dutiful in cleaning up our roads. Maybe you can organize your local ward to adopt a highway, or the boy scouts. That is typically how these matters work themselves out.

Omaha, NE

In Germany when I visited there, the shopkeepers and homeowners swept the road in front of their house or shoppe once a week. The town was pristine and beautiful. I'm sure it contributed to our wanting to stay longer and buy more of their goods.

Durham, NC

When I come home to Utah to visit I am struck by how it is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and also one of the ugliest. What started by Brigham Young as to be a beautiful place in the desert, has become the land of.... you known.... I can't even come up with a word to describe it. It is like a teenagers room... a spoiled one... who just trashes their room.

Driving from the airport to Utah Valley, I ask myself could anyone have made more a mess of things if they overtly tried... I am not sure they could have.

I am not against 4 wheeling, I am not against using Utah's natural resources. I am against unplanned development and people who stack their old rusted appliance in their back yard. Little sense of stewardship for what the Lord provided seems overly abundant.

American Fork, UT

A big part of making it work is a functional deposit based beverage container recycling system. In Alberta, there is a deposit to be paid on all canned or bottled beverages, including milk containers. This discourages them from ending up in the waste stream, and encourages people to even collect them from roadsides.

tranquility base, 00

It could be like Phoenix where all the poor houses are close to the highway. Gives a poor impression really but living next to a freeway is not the best place to be. Provo was a little run down but I figured that was due to so many students and depressed wages in the area.

I saw a lot of neighborhoods when I lived there and there are definitely some wealthy people in Utah. But they never live right along the freeway.

Salt Lake City, UT

I agree that refuse along side a road be it interstate or two-lane is unsightly. While temporarily here in Texhoma I have sort of adopted three walking routes for exercise and I pick up "stuff" along the way. In a 2 mile circuit I usually get one to three plastic shopping bags of life's flotsam and jetsam. None of which couldn't be kept within the car until arriving at your destination.

Poor manners, lack of respect for surroundings and the disposable food containers seem to be the major factors. With the exception of beer and soft drink cans, most of the "stuff" I see are paper goods, and plastic water bottles, which are everywhere due to lousy tasting water - droughts do that to municipal water supplies, and not amenable to deposit/return for credit control.

I could go for reduction in road signage, but just persuading people to keep their refuse in the car until they get home would go a long way.

Wanda B. Rich
Provo, UT

Thanks, Douglas. We often need reminders about the effects of our behavior. I remember President Spencer W. Kimball reminding his fellow Mormons to keep their yards looking nice and to avoid what he called "blight." As I drive and walk through the neighborhoods in my area, I am concerned at the increase in blight in many corners. It seems so many people don't care at all what their own property looks like. I wonder what it says about us when we don't care or, worse, don't even notice the ugliness we create through our neglect.

William Gronberg
Payson, UT

Here again is a very popular incorrect perception.

"What started by Brigham Young as to be a beautiful place in the desert,..."

The "desert" is in Moab, St. George and Delta. Not the Wasatch Front.

Yes, Alberta is beautiful. Laws and there enforcement (government) play a role there and here. Certainly the actions of people are very important. Don't drop trash along roads and in your yards.

The first time I visited the East Coast (Maryland) as an adult, I wondered where do all these people live. Boulevards and mall parking lots full of cars. Where are the houses and apartment buildings?? Often there is a forest between the highway and the houses and apartment buildings. When the leaves fall off the trees in the fall and winter, the "old rusted appliance in their back yard..." may become more obvious.

Not many natural trees on the southern Alberta or Wasatch Front grasslands. People, their good and bad activities, impact the land and community.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

Drive through Vermont. You will see nothing but beauty. No billboards, no trash, no piles of old junk, no scarred hillsides, no "Beck Streets." Utah is the most beautiful place on earth, but the people who live here are some of the trashiest people on earth. Irony of the Day.

Ernest T. Bass
Bountiful, UT

It's all in the mind-set of the people using the land. Picking up your litter is considered "extreme environmentalism" by many people who are outside.
Go spend some time where ATV users camp. That is generally where the worst litter is.
It's more mind-set than lazy. It's truly shameful how some people think.

casual observer
Salt Lake City, UT

Alberta's absence of billboards, except on First Nation property, is in glaring contrast to most of Utah. It's time for Utahns to take control and not allow the outdoor advertising industry to befoul our state any longer.

Provo, UT

@ William Gronberg

William, a "desert" was used as a description of a wilderness in the 16th-19th centuries. You'll notice in my history books that our first 13 states were described as "deserts." Were they describing the climate in New York or North Carolina? Absolutely not. Desert was also used to describe lands beyond the Appalachian Mountains. Kentucky? Tennessee? They certainly aren't "dry."

So when Brigham Young described Utah as a desert, he very well could have been describing it as a "wilderness." Which, indeed, it was. Native Americans weren't exactly looked at as "human inhabitants" at that time.

Durham, NC

"Here again is a very popular incorrect perception.

"What started by Brigham Young as to be a beautiful place in the desert,..."

The "desert" is in Moab, St. George and Delta. Not the Wasatch Front."

Ummm.... what do you call it then? It lacks water. It lacks naturally occurring vegetation. Regardless... the direct quote is “The Desert Shall Rejoice, and Blossom as the Rose”. Call it what you like, debate what is and isn't a desert... but this is what he said.

There are parts of the valley that I would safely say matches that proclamation...but there are far too many more that closer resemble a brier patch. To those whom are given much, much should be expected. Greed and laziness, and self entitlement is holding to much of Utah from its promised state.


Well we went to Alberta fairly recently and did not see such a difference. We took I-15 which looked clean and we noticed some garbage on some side roads in Lethbridge.

I observed one or two older Alberta barns were nicely painted whereas often in Utah you see old neglected, falling-down, barns, but the little towns in Northern Utah I noticed were rather remarkable for cleanliness and neatness.

There are stretches of highways around Salt Lake City, West Valley City, etc that do collect some debris and some drivers act churlishly in throwing items out of windows. Most do not, though, and you see, in those areas, workers (inmates from correctional institutions or people performing "community service") placing trash in bags. However I did not see the kind of extreme contrast discussed in this piece.

We need to paint our barns, yes. We need to knock old ones down before they fall down from exhaustion, or preserve them where possible.

We did notice that the freeways or highways on which we traveled in Alberta were relatively quiet, sometimes empty, which helps. Give Alberta its due but be fair to our mountain states.

William Gronberg
Payson, UT

Yes “desert” can and does have different definitions to different people, in different times and in different contexts. Brigham Young did not talk about the subject of a desert until some years after 1847. When he started to send pioneers out to genuine desert places, then the desert myth was born. In effect he was saying, you can do the same there that we have done here.

The 1847 pioneers did not start writing about settling a desert in their journals until years later. When I was a geography student at BYU from 1970 to 1972, I read a paper by one of my geography professors. He studied over 100 pioneer journals written in 1847-48 and NOT the ones written years later. The word “desert” was found in less than 5 and usually referred to the area of Green River, Wyoming.

“Ummm.... what do you call it then? It lacks water. It lacks naturally occurring vegetation.”

When I visit the roof of the LDS Conference Center the guiding missionary always take me to see “the natural vegetation” that has been planted there.

No water. City Creek and Jordan River are real.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Canada, Europe, and parts of Asia [think Socialist countries]
Do not allow developers the endless, un-bridled URABAN sprawl.

They fiendishly encourage recycling,
and making do or do without.

Utah reminds me too much of Tiajuana, Somalia, or New Delhi.

BTW --
The Salt Lake Temple USED to be and should be the icon of the City and State.
It's becoming buried under by Business, Banks, and Condominiums.

Places like Paris France [Eiffel Tower], Washington D.C. [Capitol, Monuments], Seattle [Space Needle], etc. ALL protect their city's idols with ordinances prohibiting building 6 stories within 1/4 mile or more to protect their international icons.

Like I said - Salt Lake is becoming subjected to Business and Developers -- all in the name and love of $$$.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I can't just walk down I-15 and pick up the stuff he's complaining about. That would be very dangerous for me and everybody else.

It's always problematic when you try to judge a whole people by one thing like this. You can't judge the whole State by what you see on I-15. Now that said... IF there's anything we can do to keep I-15 cleaner we should do it. I just don't know what it would be (besides not throwing stuff out of your car). Because we can't sweep I-15 every week or so.

Since we don't have rainfall to keep lush landscaping along Utah highways like they do in some states (the Great Basin has a high desert climate)... The only thing I can think of we CAN do is... not throw stuff out of our cars. And the thing I see flying out of cars more than anything else are cigarettes. The Redwood Road off-ramp has so many cigarette butts where traffic stops that the grass can't even grow though all the butts.

Las Vegas has the same problem (weird they didn't note that).

William Gronberg
Payson, UT

WOW ! Hard to come up with a more exaggerated comparisons.

“Utah reminds me too much of Tiajuana, Somalia, or New Delhi.”

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