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Desert Cabal: Expanding The Desert Narrative On Monday's Access Utah

Digital Journal

How can the stories we tell protect the places we love? Friends of Cedar Mesa and Torrey House Press are presenting a conversation on the unique ways desert communities can organize around and diversify narratives to protect Utah’s red rock landscapes. Desert Cabal Expanding the Desert Narrative is Friday, March 1 at 7 PM at the Bears Ears Education Center,

567 Main Street in Bluff Utah.

Drawing from Amy Irvine’s latest book, “Desert Cabal: A New Season in the Wilderness,” panelists Amy Irvine and Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk and moderator Kirsten Johanna Allen will discuss the "lone male" narrative that still has its boots planted firmly at the center of today's wilderness movement. They will explore the need to redefine and expand that movement by welcoming new voices and seeking community over solitude.

This event kicks off the annual Celebrate Cedar Mesa & Bears Ears weekend, a three-day celebration of the natural and cultural history of southeast Utah.

Today’s Access Utah features a conversation with Amy Irvine, Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk and  Kirsten Johanna Allen.


Amy Irvine is a sixth-generation Utahn and long-time public lands activist. Her memoir, Trespass: Living at the Edge of the Promised Land, received the Orion Book Award, the Ellen Meloy Desert Writers Award and the Colorado Book Award—while the Los Angeles Times wrote

that it “might very well be Desert Solitaire's literary heir.” Irvine lives and writes off the grid in southwest Colorado, just spitting distance from her Utah homeland.

Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk is a member of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and a contributor

to the anthologies Red Rock Stories and Edge of Morning. A former tribal councilwoman and co-chair of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, she serves as district director on the Montezuma-Cortez Board of Education in Towaoc, Colorado.

Kirsten Johanna Allen is publisher and editorial director of Torrey House Press.

Though Kirsten is a native New Yorker, she's also a sixth-generation Utahn and feels most at home hiking in Utah’s red rock country. She has two grown children and lives with a pair of cats and her spouse, Mark Bailey, in Salt Lake City and Torrey, Utah.


Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.