Loving Our Lands To Death

Utah is a destination spot for those who want to explore the raw, untouched lands of America. Adventurers seek out Utah to experience the awe of the land by exploring its northern snow-capped mountains or the river-carved canyons of the south.

That is until you arrive at your destination and see a scene of overuse, abuse and crowds. 

In this series, we explore the harm our Utah lands face with the constant "love" we give. Why do filmmakers flock to Utah, what are the effects of continual record-breaking attendance at national parks, and why are we using our lands as a backdrop for our Instagram posts?

Join us as we explore these and more issues in the UPR original series "Loving Our Lands To Death." Premiering June 19 and airing throughout the summer. 

Support for Loving Our Lands To Death is made possible in part by the USU Quinney College of Natural Resources, where students and faculty promote the sustainability of ecosystems and the communities that depend on them. Information can be found here

Loving Our Lands: What Did Summer Do To Our Lands?

Sep 11, 2018
National Parks Service

 


 

Zion National Park is now the third most visited National Park in the United States, bringing in 4.5 million visitors a year – an increase of 60 percent of visitation over the past three years.

EcoFlight

Try Googling “public lands in America.” You’ll find loads of maps covered in different colors outlining types of land – private, city, county, state and federal. The color representing public lands spans the country and absolutely covers the West, reminding residents that most of Utah is public, owned and managed by the federal government.

azwater.gov

Anyone who’s visited St. George in the southwestern corner of Utah knows that it’s hot and dry, one of the driest cities in the United States. But it’s also one of the fastest growing. Growing populations need water, and at less than 10 inches of precipitation a year, how does St. George get it?

Aron Ralston's hand was rescued from Blue John Canyon after he amputated his hand
The Telegraph

Utah’s public lands welcome tourists from around the globe to play, explore and adventure - sometimes to a fault. In the last four years, Utah has seen a 68 percent increase in search and rescue missions in our national parks. Just last year, there were 324 rescues statewide, costing Utah nearly $300,000 in equipment, training and manpower.

Adaptive transportation and equipment gear allow clients with the National Ability Center to access some of Utah's most scenic public lands
NAC

In 1990 the federal government passed the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, outlining public building access policy to assist people with disabilities, but the ADA does not apply to federal lands including those managed by the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and the National Parks Service. 

Elephant Canyon, Needles District, Canyonlands National Park
Dani Hayes

Picture yourself scrolling through your Facebook feed. You see a friend’s picture on top of Mt. Timpanogos. They look happy, healthy and adventurous. You get a little envious.

Car Entrance National Park
Jacob W. Frank / NPS

 

 


 When it comes to public lands in the United States, most citizens agree that they should exist. However, there is less agreement on how they should be funded.

Southern Utah is one of the many locations in Utah used for major films and commercials.
Moab to Monument Valley Film Commission

Utah has been one of the most popular areas in the United States for filmmakers since westerns hit the big screens almost 100 years ago according to experts in the film industry. Is it possible to reap the economic benefits of movies and commercials while preserving Utah’s iconic landscapes used on camera? 

Maynard
Thunderbird Foundation For The Arts

 

Maynard Dixon was a successful western artist, known for his impressionistic works featuring southern Utah and Arizona landscapes. In 1939 he left his home in San Francisco for Mount Carmel, Utah - a small town settlement bordered by national parks and public lands.

Ultimately the National Park Service built a trail to the desired vantage point.
Clément Bardot

My family hosted Japanese exchange students when I was in high school. As a result, I have a bunch of Japanese sisters, one of which is a mountaineer, gear-tester, and all-around outdoorswoman. She loves hot springs and wanted to know which natural hot springs in Utah were good to visit. So I set off to find out. 

Visitors Explore Timpanogos Cave; Timpanogos Cave is one of Utah's National Park sites experiencing increased visitation.
www.nps.gov / National Park Service

Total National Park site visitation saw a six percent increase from 2015 to 2016. Along with increased visitation, parks are facing rising costs of deferred maintenance projects, leading to financial resources being thinly stretched. 

Utah is a destination spot for those who want to explore the raw, untouched lands of America. Adventurers seek out Utah to experience the awe of the land by exploring its northern snow-capped mountains or the river-carved canyons of the south.