For those of us who live downtown it means an earlier start to crowded sidewalks carpeted in cigarette butts, overflowing trash cans, constant traffic noise, exhaust fumes and no available parking spaces. In addition, as fracking operations continue their cancer-like sprawl across the backcountry, massive trucks carrying flammable and toxic materials run around the clock through town.
Perhaps this year Moab will experience citywide gridlock for the first time, or possibly a major accident involving one of those trucks that will either spill toxins across a block or two or a related fire that will wipe out a large swath of Main Street.
Motels can’t seem to be built fast enough to attract and accommodate more tourists. Arches reached a milestone in 2013, topping 1 million visitors. Now the National Park Service can shoot for a new goal of 2 million.
Our landscape is pounded by 4x4s, mountain bikers and hikers. Slickrock areas are scarred by black tire marks and spotted with various petroleum-based fluids, the air thick with dust and exhaust. Our infrastructure and water supply are being pushed to their limits.
The landfill continues to bloat. And now there are plans to build the Utah State University campus and bring in 3,000 students, faculty and support staff. I noticed recently that the roar of life in Moab can be heard clearly all the way up to the Porcupine Rim.
I have been overwhelmed lately by this simple question: Has anyone other than myself reached the conclusion that enough is enough? Seems not. The words of the late great George Carlin ring true: “Nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care.”
So off we go into the 2014 tourist season, another sad year of watching Moab self-destruct.