His employment was the Texas Gulf Salt mine. The company took care of our needs very well and it was a blessing to our family to enjoy the beauty of the area.
As I grew into the town I was introduced to the beauty of deserts. My dad was the influence of exploration. We are a Navajo family. To my regret, I was never taught the beautiful language of my ancient people; regardless, we were raised well.
I hold dear memories of trips out in the desert lands, gathering wood for the winter and outdoor cookouts. Mom was a superb outdoor chef. I loved watching her build open-fire pits and making homemade tortillas over the grill. She was a hard worker at home, and out in the country, mom was an excellent homemaker in the great outdoors.
Memories of rabbit hunting in winter seasons shooting a .22 with my dad, while mom stayed behind to keep up the fire for dinner later. We did a lot of outings around the area of Moab. It was fresh. It was pristine, and it was ours for the weekend. I loved it, I absolutely loved that this land was ours. We were taught to respect the land by our dad.
I am now 41years old. I told myself after leaving Moab that I would never return to the land that I used to know. It took me a while to get back into my education and focus on my career. I am attending Fort Lewis College here in Durango, Colo. I started as a single mother with two kids, who has worked in many trades unfriendly to the environment. Edward Abbey would not be impressed with my resume.
I am now taking a class here called “American wilderness,” taught by Dr. Andrew Gulliford. I am honored to be taking a class from this author, who knows of the wilderness and also of the area of Moab. One who acknowledges Theodore Roosevelt as his ultimate hero in the history of maintaining and preserving the beautiful landscapes of wilderness. It’s amazing what you learn in a class – you also learn to appreciate where you come from.
For me, where I come from is sad. I am heartbroken when I think of Moab. As I read Gulliford’s book, “Outdoors of the Southwest,” and watch films that pertain to the wilderness of Canyonlands, I try hard to decipher whether or not the area of Moab still has backcountry? Is there any protected land that is pristine, and safe from off-road vehicles?
I’ve come to the conclusion that the Moab I used to know is now stripped. The Moab I knew as a child is only being prostituted for money. The land is being paved, and Grand County has extended to more housing developments, which is heartbreaking. Yes, times are changing, but to change a natural scenic environment is devastating.
I am not an environmentalist, but I am haunted by the lands I used to know. If Edward Abbey were alive today, he’d be very sad in heart, very hurt to see the lands of Moab stripped. But then again, he predicted the demise of Arches National Monument, which is now Arches National Park.
The landscape is not the same as it once was. The canyonlands are not quiet anymore. The lands around Moab have become a toll machine. Pay to see everything around.
For me, Moab is a memory of the streets I used to know. The local businesses that were so comforting, are now overshadowed with franchises. I miss the Canyonlands Café. I miss the Westerner Grill, and I know my family truly misses Golden Steak Restaurant.
Yes, it will all be missed. Now it seems every restaurant is no longer a local hangout for the old timers to discuss events in town. Drinking coffee at the bar, reading The Times-Independent newspaper, ordering the usual, and recognizing every person who enters the establishment. Laughing and shaking hands with the people you know. It was fine to be raised in Moab.
To the people of Moab: Take care, cherish the memories you have and let your children know that Moab is to be respected and loved. Take them out into the wilderness that’s left around Moab. Teach them and encourage your children that backpacking the country is better than off-road exploration.
Diana Rose Yellow currently lives in Durango, Colo., and attends Fort Lewis College, majoring in public health. She has a specific interest in environmental public health. She has two kids – a 10-year-old son and a 7-year-old daughter.