“I had been through Moab previously and like a lot of people I didn’t know a lot about it before I showed up … it left a strong impression on me,” Clark said. “The solitude of the landscape is really what I am drawn to. Just the vastness and the ability to really get away from people, that’s the important thing. I trend towards solitude.”
Clark got the opportunity to come to Moab when he took a job as house counsel for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA). As a law student in Portland, Ore., Clark had been focused on environmental public interest work.
“There aren’t a lot of organizations really out there doing public lands work so SUWA was always on the radar for places that aligned with my personal values and worked on issues that I felt strongly about,” Clark said.
Now, as house counsel, Clark said that he has the “best lawyer job.”
“Most of my time is spent doing legal-related work with the Bureau of Land Management, working on projects they’re proposing and then the other part of my time is actually going out into the field and doing ... wilderness character inventories, inventorying public lands to see if they qualify as wilderness, looking at areas where proposed projects might be located, looking at things like designated motorized routes for example,” Clark said.
Those inventories take Clark out into the field, where he can enjoy the vast landscapes that originally drew him to the area.
“I have a really good balance. When the paper pushing gets to be too much, I get to sort of rejuvenate myself outside working on the same issues I’m filing legal filings on.”
The best part of the job, he said, is working for an organization with strong values.
“It’s unique in that it’s an organization with a very narrow focus,” Clark said. “We work on Utah public lands, on wilderness issues. And it’s an organization that’s not afraid to take strong stances on issues and I think that’s becoming more and more rare in the greater conservation arena.”
Clark also plays mandolin in Slim Pickins, a local three-piece bluegrass band.
“We call it jam-grass,” Clark said. “We play a lot of original material, throwing in a mix of traditional bluegrass basically. It’s been a really nice outlet.”
Clark said Moab’s vibrant music and art scene is unusual in small towns and has afforded the band opportunities. The group plays at local venues and in western Colorado.
After all, Clark finds Moab’s small-town atmosphere comfortable and familiar.
“I went to the city [for graduate school] because I think when you grow up in a rural place that’s what you want to do, live in the city. But you come back to realizing that you’re a rural person at the core, for better or worse,” Clark said. “Moab more than anywhere I’ve ever lived has really got this unique community spirit which I think is pretty special … There’s a reason it draws people here and people can’t seem to leave.”