Utah is one of the best kept secrets of the West. The secret is that we are home to such a diverse landscape that any outdoor enthusiast would have to try hard to be bored. We have stunning canyons in the southern part of the state and some of the most beautiful peaks and canyons to the north. This summer has been one of the hottest on record… not the best time to be pregnant and I find myself midway through my second trimester and FINALLY feeling well enough to venture out into the mountains with 15 friends to camp in the Uinta National Forest where it is typically 30 degrees cooler than Salt Lake City.
Many years ago, the Ute Indian tribe had settled most of what we call Utah today, the National Forest was named for them when it was established and Uinta means ‘Low Place in High Mountains’. As soon as you enter the forest you can feel the energy of the natives from here. It feels pure and is home to bear, deer, moose, elk, mountain lions, and some of the best trout fishing in the world. Kings Peak is the highest point in Utah at 13,500 and is located in this area. It is a place that is well above the tree line and has snow year-round. We decided to stay a little lower for this trip and camped just at the base of Bald Mountain which is at about 11,000 feet. We were camped just at the tree line in a very secluded place with stunning views.
We had an exceptional winter which was very welcome after a decade of drought. The state reported this summer that we are finally out of drought status and it was evident from the 60 or so deer we saw during the weekend. We also were fortunate to see some mountain goats which is unusual with so many people in one area.
Half our group hiked to a lake to catch some trout for dinner but I chose to stay back to relax and reflect. While I lay in my hammock overlooking the incredible vista I pondered how very lucky I am to live in such a beautiful area and have such wonderful friends that I am able to share these experiences with. It was a brief moment of peace which has almost become a long lost friend with all that is happening politically; knowing that our fight to protect areas like this and all of its inhabitants is just beginning. I know that many of the deer that I saw, who looked so healthy, more so than they have in many years, were destined to be hunted in the coming months. I became angry that cattle were permitted to graze all over this area, subsidized by tax payers when our wild horses are being treated in such inhumane conditions and are now in the fight for their lives as the BLM has requested and been approved funding to slaughter the almost 50,000 wild horses currently being held in holding facilities.
My anger finally gave way to sadness, sadness because I knew that our daughter was most likely going to have to carry the torch some day for all of us and continue the fight because there will always people that value the almighty dollar more than life. I chose to take the opportunity to have some meaningful conversations through my sadness with my group of friends while sitting at a campfire that evening. Educating them on what is happening to our protected lands and the wild horses. I was thrilled to see that I had a captive audience of young, energetic, engaged, intelligent people… Through the night my sadness gave way to energy. I know that the more we talk, the more we educate, the bigger the difference we can make.
Big money and big business may have deeper pockets but we have the numbers and we have the passion. We all need to keep talking and acting. For years, lies and propaganda have been put out to the public. It is incumbent on all of us to scream from the highest mountaintops and let them know that we care about our lands and wild animals and we will not be quieted. We are responsible to make sure that our kids and grandkids are able to disappear into the mountains, far from cell service, with just a few friends and have good conversation around a campfire. Hopefully they are able to live in a less tumultuous world than we currently find ourselves.
Please keep the momentum. Call your representatives. Tell them no on the slaughter of our Wild Horses. Tell them no on reducing the size of our treasured National Monuments both which benefit big oil and gas. Let them know that our open spaces are more important than money. That we want these areas to stay protected and to let all its critters to live in peace for our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
About CANA Foundation
CANA Foundation’s mission is to responsibly restore an ecological balance in our environment through specific rewilding initiatives. These projects support harmony between the humans, plants, and animals that inhabit U.S. rangelands and focus on the restoration of our land’s native habitats through natural resources and indigenous species, like America’s wild horses. CANA initiatives work towards long-term, sustainable solutions that prevent further land degradation, protect and preserve wild horse populations, and encourage a beneficial, thriving ecosystem for today and tomorrow.
Contact CANA Foundation: PO Box 674, Locust Valley, NY 11560 or [email protected]Donate to CANA Foundation
It is up to us, American citizens, to contact our elected representatives of government and let them know how we feel about the issues. Use a service like GovTrack.us to find your local representatives and make your voice heard.Visit GovTrack.us
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* Featured Image: Red Pine Lake. Photo by Eric Greenwood. Retrieved from USFS Intermountain Region on Flickr.