Sagebrush Rebellion Canyon...
Jan 17, 2013 | 1097 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I normally would not engage in the discussion of the renaming of the Negro Bill Canyon because I do understand both sides. However, there are elements which do require me to point out my views recommending a name change for this canyon.

First, I am positive William Grandstaff did not call or respond to this name. But I was not there. I cannot tell you, however, the number of times I have had to explain or make excuses when I was taking visitors to show property and pass the signage. Without exception, it was met with a negative note on our community attitudes for allowing this kind of moniker.

Secondly, I grew up in a highly segregated community which had four areas: white, Hispanic, Black, and the “poor whites.” Everyone knew which street you were from. And you wore “the badge.” I went to my 57th high school reunion last year and more than once in the group discussions it was said, remember ‘Joe is from South Mesquite’ by Lea Street. In other words, I was from the other side of town! This makes me very sensitive about labels on people as something not emanating a positive viewpoint.

Thirdly, if everyone feels that Mr. William Grandstaff needs something named after him, I believe the campground already named in his honor (although misspelled) should meet the objectives.

And finally, the real name for this beautiful canyon should reflect why it is available for the public to enjoy, have parking, and the trails and even toilets! Grand County Commissioner Ray Tibbetts personally manned a D9 cat, lowered the blade and pushed the clearing that now exists where the parking lot is today, destroyed the BLM barricade blocking access, ignored the court order for the public to stay off “federal [public] lands,” told the armed rangers to move or get hurt and declared this canyon open to the public on July 4, 1980. Ray became the icon for the Sagebrush Rebellion and newly elected Sen. Orrin Hatch started the Washington effort to reform the handling of public lands and their accessibility, mainly due to grassroots efforts like that in Grand County.

Therefore, I strongly recommend that this canyon be renamed “Sagebrush Rebellion Canyon” or at least Tibbetts Canyon, because without his efforts and the other commissioners it still might be barricaded and that extremely popular destination for visitors and locals alike would be “off limits,” or at least hard to access.

—Joe D. Kingsley

Moab


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