Health Professionals Call for Protecting Greater Canyonlands

Mother & Daugher (Lin Alder)
Copyright Lin Alder.

More than 200 health and well-being professionals from Utah released a letter today asking President Obama to protect Greater Canyonlands – the magnificent wild region surrounding Canyonlands National Park in Utah – as a national monument because of the health benefits to all Americans.

The letter states “Protecting this world-class landscape would not only preserve an area of unparalleled scenic beauty and rich cultural heritage, it would also foster a healthy America. That is a goal anyone can support.”

The list of signers included doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, physical and occupational therapists, medical aides and technicians, public health specialists, health educators, dieticians and other healers and well-being practitioners.

The letter stressed that protecting Greater Canyonlands would provide physical, psychological and public health benefits.

“We need big beautiful landscapes like Greater Canyonlands to inspire people and their families to get outside and be active,” said Mark Oliver, M.D., father of two children and an avid outdoorsman. “Americans’ increasingly sedentary lifestyles exacerbate conditions such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes which plague huge numbers of our population.”

“Large wild places like Greater Canyonlands can be critically important to the emotional healing and rejuvenation of people who have suffered trauma, struggle with anxiety or depression, or simply face emotional challenges,” said Travis Mickelson, M.D., and specialist in Pediatric Behavioral Health Psychiatry. “Studies also show that time in natural settings enhances people’s problem-solving skills, concentration and creativity.”

“The public health benefits of protecting Greater Canyonlands extend far beyond its borders,” said Suzanne Stensaas, a retired University of Utah professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy. “Greater Canyonlands is a clean air sanctuary from health-threatening air pollution for many of us living along the Wasatch Front and it helps to provide clean water for the millions of people who live downstream.”

Read the letter here and add your name to the list of signers if you work in the health or well-being field.  Also check out the personal statements below for stories about how protecting large wild landscapes like Greater Canyonlands is vital to health and healing: