I am pleased that the beautiful southern Utah area now called Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was protected for my family and their families to come. My family members are as excited as I am with this new monument. We have visited many of the areas included and will hike and explore many more of these beautiful wilderness areas.
We are disappointed that those who represent us, all of us, seem to see only one viewpoint, that of the Utah Association of Counties (UAC) and Wise Use Organization. To read and listen to our congressional representatives, one would assume all Utahns are against the monument. Not true. In fact a poll taken last May showed opposition was only 32 percent.History has a way of making controversial monument designations into great triumphs of insight. Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Yosemite national parks all were unpopular when first set aside. I think the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument will be, too.
I am concerned, as are many of my friends and family, that the Legislature intends to set aside money, $250,000, to sue the federal government for setting aside the monument. I don't believe there is any possibility of this suit actually changing the designation. The money we are going to spend chasing windmills by trying to punish the federal government seems a little childish to me. Does this make much sense? I hope the Legislature will reconsider setting aside money for the UAC to sue the government.
I hope that the Legislature will consider what the majority of the citizens of Utah want, not just the wants of the special interest groups who only have their interests at heart. Do not set any money aside for the Utah Association of Counties. It will be wasteful just to prove a political point.
Colleen C. Gregory
Salt Lake City