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Front Page » December 6, 2005 » Opinion » Letter to the Editor: List not a negative
Published 3,592 days ago

Letter to the Editor: List not a negative

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An article published recently in the Sun Advocate ("Commission clarifies county's position on Nine Mile Board," Nov. 29, 2005) contains some inaccurate information which I would like to correct.

The article erroneously stated that the Nine Mile Canyon Coalition (the Coalition) initiated the nomination of Nine Mile Canyon to the list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

The Coalition did not nominate the canyon to the list. I, a private landholder in Nine Mile Canyon, initiated, wrote, and submitted the nomination as an individual citizen. After submission, I notified the Coalition (of which I am now the chair). The Coalition then joined other groups such as the Hopi Nation, the Utah Rock Art Research Association, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation in endorsing the nomination.

There is a disturbing approach in the article, as well. It states that the endangered listing "has been shown to be a detriment to economic development in the region . . . ." I was not able to ascertain exactly what was meant by that, but according to sources at the CEU Prehistoric Museum, the number of visitors inquiring about Nine Mile Canyon in preparation to visit the canyon has increased�in recent years and including since the canyon was placed on the endangered list. The listing may well have had a positive impact on tourism, as some of these visitors have indicated to museum personnel that the press and media coverage addressing the endangered listing actually prompted their visits.

It is indeed unfortunate that Nine Mile Canyon's endangered listing is "seen by many to have a negative impact" on the canyon and the region. Around 750 natural gas wells are planned for development in and around this internationally renowned public treasure. The Nine Mile Canyon National Scenic Backcountry Byway is the proposed access route for tens of thousands of heavy industrial commutes to the project area over the next 20 to 30 years. Anything less than full and detailed planning for industrial activity will do irreversible harm to the canyon's priceless prehistoric and historic cultural resources and result in untold damage to the county's significant, growing tourist industry. The Coalition Board does not oppose gas development�it is a national need�but its furtherance will come at an exorbitant price in Nine Mile Canyon unless maximum commitment to diligent and adequate mitigation is a high priority for everyone.

It is my hope that someday Nine Mile Canyon will be removed from the endangered historic places list. This can be realized through continued cooperative efforts such as those we have seen exercised by the Nine Mile Canyon Advisory Board.

The Coalition Board and membership will continue to further our mission of preserving and protecting the Canyon, as well.

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December 6, 2005
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