Deseret News
Letter to the editor

The unfortunate introduction of the Emery County Public Lands Management Act recalls a family trip three years ago in southern Utah. It rained and rained, swelling every river, which for my 16-year-old son and myself opened a world of marvels.

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Our kayaks descended down small rivers through wild lands past arches, abandoned frontier cabins and bands of wild horses. I remember a splashy ride where the canyon constricted. I’d always run first and my son would then come along and do it himself. One of the memories I won’t ever forget was his big smile as his kayak plowed through rough water. That night at camp, we talked over our dinner of rehydrated noodles. I asked him how he felt about running that rapid and camping out next to the river. He said: “Free.”

I mustered my fatherly wisdom and said this wild place would be there for him to return to, maybe with his own kids. Now I’m learning that I might have lied to my son. Please keep all of the Muddy Creek area and the San Rafael wild, for my son and his generation of young adventurers. The Emery bill is not adequate to the task.

Kevin Mattson

Athens, Ohio