Thanks to a terrific team of six Utahns, protecting Greater Canyonlands was on the agenda this week in Washington D.C.!
For two days, volunteer activists representing young people, archaeology, veterans, health professionals, and local Moab residents met with key offices of the Obama administration.
Loaded up with an armful of items showcasing public support for protecting Greater Canyonlands, the activists spoke eloquently about the need for presidential action.
Archaeologist and author Jerry Spangler shared our new publication showcasing the cultural treasures of Greater Canyonlands, emphasizing that without action this outdoor library containing 12,000 years of human history will be inevitably degraded.
Veteran Michael Cumming described how climbing in Greater Canyonlands allowed him to heal from the trauma and loss of war, explaining that this landscape now brings similar healing to other vets through the therapeutic climbing program he then founded, Operation Climb On.
Presenting a letter signed by over 750 health professionals (including 350 from Utah) to President Obama, social worker Tom Laabs-Johnson explained how protecting Greater Canyonlands would benefit the physical, emotional and public health of all Americans.
Local Moab resident Edgar Fuentes described how growing up with Greater Canyonlands in his backyard “kept me out of trouble” and how Moab’s economic well-being would benefit from a monument proclamation.
Brigham Young University student Sarah Karlinsey and Colorado College student Brooke Larsen implored the Obama administration to act for the next generation, describing how young people find spiritual renewal, inspiration and adventure in Greater Canyonlands and presenting 5 videos created by youth about the area.
Meetings included the Council on Environmental Quality — the office that advises the president on monument proclamations — and advisers to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.
The message was clear: local Utahns from many different backgrounds cherish Greater Canyonlands for many reasons and want the president to act.
We suspect some of the activists may have left a bit of red sand from their shoes in the carpets of the people they met with. We know they left an impression with their eloquent arguments and personal stories!