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Front Page » November 12, 2002 » Opinion » Rural traditions will include change
Published 4,714 days ago

Rural traditions will include change

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Staff reporter

Most people have heard of the cabin syndrome. The cabin syndrome says that often people will buy a piece of property out in the country, build themselves a little bit of heaven and then try to keep everyone else from doing the same thing on the property that surrounds them. In other words they try to find ways to close the door to further development once they have their place in life set.

There is also an opposite side to this syndrome. I call it the "move in and want to change everything" syndrome.

Although I have been very aware of this syndrome for many years, it never struck me as it has the last two weeks. I recently spoke with a friend who lives in Washington County whose family owned a farm near the Veyo area for generations.

It seems in the last few years that many people from California and Nevada have been moving onto "five acre ranchette" type lots in the area. That in itself has never bothered him he said. Although some of his family hates the development going on, his problem is with how these people want to change things.

"They have moved here from Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego and other big cities," he says. "Many have told me they moved away from those places to get away from the crime, the pollution, the traffic and the people. The problem arises in that they don't realize to get away from those things they have to give some other things up. Like convenience."

He told me that at county commission and town meetings, these people are always clamoring for more services and a "7-11" on every corner so they don't have to drive so far to pick up milk and get gas. He feels they basically want Los Angeles without all the hassles.

A story I heard on KUER (our public radio station from the University of Utah) this morning, brings that story even more to the front for me.

The story spoke of a couple who decided to move from a suburb of Chicago to Montana after they bought a few acres there. They wanted to get away from the city and all the people.

However they ended up with more "country" than they bargained for with wildlife over running their land and cattle grazing on their lawn.

But more upsetting to them seemed to be the services they didn't have. For instance they had to haul their own garbage to the land fill because there was no collection service available. The list went on and on.

Now their "little piece of heaven" is up for sale because they found that it wasn't what they expected. They plan to move back to a city where they are more comfortable.

Stories abound in the old west of communities deserted by rookie settlers who either mostly died or moved away because of drought, pestilence or attacks by the natives. If they managed to hang on it was their fortitude and strength of character that got them through. They managed to tame the area and make it theirs.

Today, the "new" settlers also try to tame an area and make it theirs. Through money and political power they often change communities. Examples abound, Jackson, Wyo., Sedona, Ariz., Park City, Utah; many more towns than I can name. I guess that type of "settlement" in many ways is no different in principal, but it sure does affect communities that have grown up with one identity and then have to change to something else.

Carbon County has, almost from the beginning been a mix of industrial small towns and agriculture. We have been very used to having residential areas and agricultural ones being next to each other. We have had a lot of people come and go over the years due to the fluctuation in the coal industry.

But recently the county commission has had to look at ordinances about "fencing or fencing out" livestock, due to a number of people who have purchased land in remote areas of the county. For years ranchers have been running livestock in many of these areas and the animals have roamed freely seeking the best food sources they can find. Suddenly, people, largely from the Wasatch Front, have been buying up sections of land and putting them into developments, ranging from an acre to several acres per parcel. Some have built cabins or other structures. Like the people who moved from Chicago to Montana they discovered cattle grazing on their property. There have been numerous complaints about the problem Now an ordinance friendly to the tradition of our area; allowing these animals to roam is on the books. If a person doesn't like animals grazing on their land they need to put up a fence to keep them out.

I believe the pressures on all western rural areas to change their ways of life are going to increase. This is not all bad, because there are some things that we need to change. Personally I moved here 12 years ago to get away from the big city. There are things I am not always happy with, but that's just part of living here, just as living with all the problems in a city are part of what you put up with in that environment. In comparison those irritations are minor.

We all need to understand that those coming here from somewhere else may be a bit disturbed by the difference from where they came. Success of an individual or community depends on their adaptation to the environment.

Carbon County is a unique society in the middle of another unique society, the state of Utah. We all need to learn to adapt to change, while still holding onto our cherished traditions.

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