Moab is unique in more ways than one. I, like many who moved here, enjoy the diversity of outdoor recreation our canyon country and nearby mountains provide. You name the activity; I bet you know someone who has devoted their free time, passion, or even their career to enjoying the outdoors.
Whether it be rock climbing, taking the children to Swanny City Park, showing your sister Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, backpacking through Canyonlands National Park, mountain biking Porcupine Rim, rafting the Colorado River, 4-wheeling on Hell’s Revenge, riding ATVs at Gold Bar Rim, canyoneering, slacklining, or participating in nature photography, there really is something for everyone.
However, we are seeing more visitor-use conflicts happening on our public lands. Recreation numbers have increased tenfold over the years. We must remember that our public lands belong to each and every one of us. The best part of public lands is that it can serve multiple uses through different agencies and management. Our public lands are open to any ethnicity, gender, religion, sexuality, disability, age and economics (Even though there are many hurdles within these categories themselves.)
We often tend to think that the way our social group enjoys the outdoors is the “best” way and we get stuck in our personal belief system. We get upset when we see others shooting selfies with their smart phone or the mountain biker ripping past us as we are hiking. Or we get frustrated when an RV camper is using a generator next to our tent camp. If we don’t understand why someone would want to slackline across a giant canyon or base jump off a climb, we tend to end up with judgments. If we don’t understand why someone wants to raft class V rapids, we may view the recreational user group differently. It is a personal choice as to how we enjoy exploring the outdoors. This can be human power, two-wheeled human power, or motorized recreation activities. Bottom line for all is to be safe, have fun and to show respect.
With the technology age we live in now, is Instagram and social media to blame? Sometimes. Photos can inspire others, while tagging a location can cause multitudes of people to flock to the same area. Some areas don’t have enough infrastructures or are extremely sensitive. Think before you post.
In the end, we must remember that we are all enjoying nature, our public lands and finding joy in our own unique way.
We must respect each other. We must treat each other with respect and all get along. We must all Tread Lightly, Ride With Respect, Protect and Respect and Leave No Trace. We must communicate with each other, talk, listen and share stories and low impact ideas. Instead of shaking our heads in disgust or pointing figures, let’s all get along.
Let’s work towards the best stewardship of the planet, for Utah, for Moab, for locals and visitors alike.
See something, say something.
Respect the land.
Respect each other.