July 29, 2022

An Outsider's Perspective on the Importance of Save Our Canyons

Written by

Written by, SOC Intern, Mary Eargle

I moved here from the East Coast almost two years ago. I had been living here for a few months before I began to notice that something was missing. Where were the trees? Where was the humidity? Where were the sounds of crickets at night? The praying mantis that would show up on my windowsill? The colorful birds and the even more colorful flowers that I would see on a neighborhood stroll? It began to feel like I had wandered much, much too far from home. And I even thought I was beginning to hate it here.

A few months ago I had too much time to kill, so I drove until I found a random trailhead that was busy with people. I began to walk. I was only planning to walk for a few minutes. But I noticed the air was getting a little more humid, and it drew me onward. Then I began to notice beautiful blue flowers on the trail, so I continued to follow them. Pretty soon there were fields of these blooms, and the trail began to go up and up. I thought, “Might as well keep going!” I hiked on. I met a man who told me, “Keep it up, you’re almost to the top!” The top?! I had never summited a mountain in my life. But why stop now. I went on and found stunning yellow flowers, followed by tiny purple ones. I quickly started to realize these mountains are very biodiverse! I finally reached the peak, and saw the most spectacular views I’d ever seen in my life. This was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.

As I was reaching the end of my hike back down and the sun was setting, I heard the sweetest sound. There at the mouth of the canyon, a chorus of crickets began to chirp. I felt like a child again, falling asleep to the same sound outside of my window. It brought more than a few tears to my eyes.

It was shortly after this I began my internship with Save Our Canyons (SOC). I started off not even knowing the difference between “The Wasatch” and the “Uintas”. I just knew that I have always loved nature and I wanted to protect it. During my time with SOC, I have learned much more than just what the acronyms BCC and LCC mean. I have seen how invaluable this organization is to the preservation of the Wasatch and the environment it holds. Before now, I always blindly assumed that the natural world was securely protected. However, the unfortunate truth is that economic gains often end up being put in front of conservation. It is only with the combined voices of the Utah community that these lands can responsibly remain open for public recreation, and not fall to privatization by small interest groups. My involvement in volunteer opportunities hosted by SOC has helped me see the canyons in this new light. The canyons are not solely the government's responsibility, or the ski resorts responsibility, but all of our responsibilities. It is our job to preserve them.

Save Our Canyons’ community outreach invites everyone to enjoy, respect, and experience the solitude and beauty of this state’s hidden gems. As an outsider to Utah’s recreation life, I have found my internship with SOC to be the key to my reentering the natural world. Whether it be hosting an invasive species pull up City Creek Canyon with Salt Lake Public Utilities or hiking up Big Cottonwood Canyon at Willow Lake with Utah Native Plant Society to see a rainbow of wildflowers - Save Our Canyons truly understands the value of community inclusion in their work. Utah’s canyons are unlike anything I have ever experienced, and I finally see what everyone has been working so hard to protect.

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.