“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spar, the original, is cutting itself off from the origins and betraying the principles of the civilization itself.”
The passage above--written by Edward Abbey as he reflected on his time as a park ranger throughout the American West--was a prudent observation at the time of its publication in 1968. But today, in a time where the worth of our prized natural parks seems to have taken something of a dip, the afore-quoted sentiment now reads as a vital assertion on the inherent value of nature.
SLC is home to a new piece of street art.
It's a mural, 100 feet in length or so, and it's a direct response to the problems surrounding this devaluation. Recently completed by COLLECTIVELY-adored Josh Scheuerman (and just across the street from Fisher Brewing on 800 South between 300 and 400 West), the mural is a vivid depiction of the beauty and bold color that defines Bears Ears...a facade intended to reconnect residents in our state's most cosmopolitan county to the splendor of Southern Utah.
It's Josh's hope that the mural also promotes discourse with those elected officials who have the power to reduce/vote on monuments like Bears Ears. To serve as a reminder to politicians that love and respect for the state we all call home should trump the special interests of corporations and conglomerates. "This is not our land to destroy for profit or desecrate in the name of making political moves," says Josh. "As a native Utahan who grew up traveling our state, I feel a connection to the land and a sense of purpose to protect it."
The problems addressed by the newly-minted mural are certainly not exclusive to the confines of our state, but the deliberation over the Bears Ears monument has pushed them well and truly into the statewide spotlight (a rally is set to be held on Saturday, Dec. 2nd on the south steps of the Capitol Building... click here for more info). And while the debate over the fate of our parks is undoubtedly imbued with political inclinations, we'd be remiss if we didn't offer a [two-fold] non-partisan position:
ONE - Nature is inclusive, not divisive. Whether you’re left-leaning, firmly right-winged, or fall somewhere in between, our natural parks provide both recreation and respite for all. They don't discriminate based on political affiliation, and, consequently, it falls upon all of us to put party aside and ensure that these stunning sedimentary structures/spaces remain safeguarded, forever.
TWO - A massive part of what makes our parks so unequivocally awe-inspiring is the immense amount of time and painstaking care it took mother nature to craft them. This land, with its accompanying red-rock rarities, precedes our state's populace...and it is likely to long outlast us, as well. In the space of time during which our two existences have overlapped, such areas have served as a calming retreat during countless calamities. To destroy that which was meticulously modeled over millennia, and all on a political whim, seems irresponsible, at best. Better to preserve that which has provided us with so much.
In an effort to raise this beloved state to the highest of heights, we’ve certainly waxed philosophical about the importance providing a “gritty and unyielding catalyst for change”. And, yes, while we still hold permutation to be paramount, reverence also has its place.