This past weekend, I had the opportunity to travel to Maine for the Common Ground Country Fair, an event that combines the usual fair activities with a passion for organic and sustainable agriculture and environmental and social justice causes. For the past two years, I have been assisting the Mainers for Utah Wilderness state activist group with their table in the Environmental Concerns tent.
It is always amazing to see so many people in a state far from Utah with so many connections to redrock country. We were visited by folks who used to live in Utah, who had relatives or close friends who live in Utah, and/or have made frequent visits to southern Utah. Still others were planning trips out to Utah or hoped to visit someday. We even met some folks from out West who were up in Maine for the fair! Overall, most people were enthusiastic about our mission, and we were able to collect hundreds of postcards to President Obama and the Maine congressional delegation asking them to work to protect Utah wilderness.
The most common question? “Aren’t you a little far away from home? Why are you in Maine?” When we explained that these were federal lands, owned by Mainers just as much as those who live in Utah, they understood. Most expressed a desire to protect more wilderness in Utah for future generations to enjoy, and even those that were skeptical were surprised when they learned more information about our work.
Why do Mainers care about protecting Utah wilderness? Our Mainers for Utah Wilderness volunteers can best explain:
Thanks to those who volunteered and to those who stopped by the table! Meeting and working with passionate redrock activists always rejuvenates my own enthusiasm for working to protect Utah’s wild lands.