The Hinkins-Albrecht plan...
Jan 11, 2018 | 295 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I attended the town meeting last Friday to learn what I could about a range of important issues, especially plans for a reservation system at Arches National Park and bills to limit the president’s power to declare national monuments. Park Superintendent Kate Cannon painted a grim picture of an Arches overrun with tourists: long lines at the entrance station, fights over parking spaces at many “attractions,” crowded trails. It looks as though Arches will soon surpass two million visitors. Then, following her speech, Utah Rep. Carl Albrecht and his senate colleague, David Hinkins, presented a plan to exempt Utah from the Antiquities Act, under which presidents since 1906 have been authorized to set aside federal land as national monuments. So on one hand we have evidence that the public can’t get enough of places like Arches protected as parks and monuments (“loving them to death”), and on the other Utah politicians who want to take away one of the main means we have to preserve such lands, at least in the state of Utah.

Let us remember that four of our five national parks started life as national monuments. If presidents in the past had been prohibited from declaring national monuments in Utah, as Albrecht and Hinkins want, then those parks would not exist today. Is there anyone left in this state that seriously thinks that Utah’s economy would be better off without Arches, Capitol Reef, Bryce and Zion national parks? To me, it seems axiomatic that, when existing parks and monuments get overcrowded (as now), we need more of them to spread out “visitations” and give people a better opportunity to enjoy the land free of excessive traffic and crowds. Well, our politicians would reply, Congress should create national parks. But in fact, Congress is usually reluctant to do so because the legislative process is cumbersome and local “extractive industry” interests raise a hue and cry.

That is why far-sighted presidents can use the Antiquities Act to create national monuments, which enjoy fewer protections and allow continuing extractive activities like mining and ranching. As the decades pass, local opposition subsides, people begin earning a living from tourism, and eventually support emerges for the conversion of national monuments into national parks, as it did with most of our parks. The Hinkins-Albrecht joint resolution would thus block the normal, natural process of national park creation in this state.

Lew Hinchman

—Moab


Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

report abuse...

Express yourself:

We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.

Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.