High Desert Hoofbeats
Heaven on earth...
by Sena Taylor Hauer
Mar 07, 2013 | 548 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Like swallows to Capistrano, spring visitors are flocking back to Moab and their migration is a welcome sight.

I like it when Moab is busy. It’s exciting to see Main Street bustling with nary an empty parking spot, with shoppers and diners out on the sidewalks. When people are on vacation in Moab, I feel like I’m on vacation in Moab.

I’ve really never understood the locals who enjoy winter more than any other season. In the winter, those curmudgeons say, it’s quiet and they don’t have to share their favorite desert destinations or the deli at the grocery store. I think it’s a bit selfish when locals grouse about tourists and complain about the inconveniences they cause. More than likely, those very complainers were themselves visitors to Moab at one point in time, before deciding to call this special place home. Even the pioneer descendants in Moab, of which I am one, know the stories of when their ancestors first arrived here.

Moab has unique charm, and the world is catching on, like it or not. Tourism is the lifeblood of Moab. Not only does it keep lots of private businesses running, it allows the biggest employer in Moab (the federal government) to keep people on its payroll. People who don’t accept those economic realities must not have to make a living here.

The increased use of many areas and places has certainly put strains on the land and on the federal managers who oversee it. Hats off to the local Forest Service office for coming up with some recommendations on use of popular trails on the La Sals. Will I agree with all the recommendations? No. Will I feel a little restricted by some of these recommendations? Yes. But am I relieved to see this effort by the USFS to protect the mountain and the mountain user’s experience? Yes, yes!

I am generally tickled when I meet new Moab residents. Especially when those new dwellers have chosen to move here simply because they like it here. I am proud of Moab, and when outsiders decide to become insiders, it’s an echoing sentiment of pride and love for this community and landscape.

I’m a sentimental person, though, and I don’t always like it when people want to make changes. All the recent talk about changing names puts me a little on the defensive, but what’s in a name? I know what we called Negro Bill Canyon when I was a kid, and I wouldn’t be comfortable calling it that now. In fact, the only time we could say that word in our family when I was a child was in association with that canyon. All other uses were deemed derogatory and might cause you to get your mouth washed out with soap. If the name of the canyon needs to be changed again to ease people’s emotions and get us current with the latest definition of political correctness, I am fine with that.

But I am not so fine with the idea of changing the name of Grand County High School’s mascot. The mighty Red Devil has long been a symbol of school pride, and it fits right in with so many popular Moab locales: Devils Garden, the Fiery Furnace, the Dark Angel, Devil’s Kitchen, and so on. Could you imagine the cost and uproar of having to change all those evil-sounding names just so no one gets offended?

I hope we, as a community, can be reasonable about these matters and come to a consensus that unites and not divides us. People, don’t we have bigger fish to fry? Who can argue that all these red rocks have inspired, in jest, the hellish names. Thankfully, Moab is a whole lot more like heaven on earth than most any other place.


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