Friday, July 10, 2020


Moab, UT

79.1 F

    Rare and priceless jewel

    Featured Stories

    Tales of Trails: Savor spectacular views from thrilling Shafer Trail

    In the 1890s, Moab pioneer brothers Frank M. And John S. Shafer developed the route from what had been a Native American pathway connecting what is now Canyonlands National Park to the river below.

    At 99, Moab man is knighted by France

    “The French people will never forget his courage and devotion to the great cause of freedom,”

    Leaving Guatemala, Part 4: ‘A year in the land of eternal spring’

    Though I planned to return someday, whether as a Peace Corps volunteer or not, this experience proved that even the best-laid plans go awry.

    Leaving Guatemala, Part 3: Sudden departure came with painful goodbyes

    Men donned wooden masks and numerous layers of sweatshirts and ponchos then proceeded to hit each other with whips as they danced around the town square.

    Leaving Guatemala Part 2: There wasn’t enough time to say goodbye

    To say I woke up on the Monday morning of the evacuation...


    A clear mountain stream running through the desert is a rare and priceless jewel. Moab has such a treasure and now, but through social media, the bigger world has discovered it. Quite sensibly, they wish to bask in its beauty, bringing their vehicles, their dogs, their stuff, and their human needs along with them. The result is overcrowding and observable damages.

    After decades of hand-wringing and wondering how to protect Mill Creek, it is time for Grand County and the BLM to collaborate on a plan as they did with the Sand Flats area which went through similar growth agonies years ago. In the long run, the primary entry and parking area for the Power Dam area and Mill Creek trailhead needs to be moved to the north side of Mill Creek in the area known as Potato Salad Hill. The road into this area is wider and safer than Powerhouse Lane, the present primary entry point. The north-side entry does not involve high-volume vehicle travel through a residential neighborhood as is the case on Powerhouse Lane, and the area available for parking development is vastly larger than it is on the inadequate south side.

    Canyon monitor Sara Melnicoff correctly points out in recent letters that formally moving the primary entry from the south side to the north side is irresponsible until infrastructure improvements have been planned and implemented. Compared to the work that’s gone into the area already, the north-side infrastructure could be done quite easily and economically. It would involve grading a level parking area on top of Potato Salad Hill, closing the rough, one-lane road to the base of the hill for non-emergencies, converting that route to a short trail to the creek, and building a short-span bridge across Mill Creek on the bedrock buttresses just below the Power Dam. Such a bridge would safely connect the two sides above flood level, provide access to existing restrooms, and facilitate emergency response. The distance from this proposed primary parking area to the Power Dam is 680 feet, compared to 685 feet from the present parking area.

    It is irresponsible to delay planning for the future of the Power Dam area and envisioning a visitor experience for locals and guests that matches the grandeur of Mill Creek. In the long run, I see no sensible alternative to moving the primary entry point and parking from the south side to the north side.

    –Tom Johnson


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    Latest News

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    The oppositional letter asserts that the lease sale “threatens the core of our tourism economy by locking in long-term oil and gas leases on and around popular recreation areas that are vital to our local economy.”