|My new home, one of the area's original farm houses. It has a really peaceful feel and plenty of room.|
I've been visiting various old haunts around Moab, almost as if I'm leaving and won't be back. In a way, I guess I'm saying goodbye, even though I know I'll return, but the area has been overrun with machines and is becoming less and less of the kind of place where I want to be.
I don't mind sharing, but the constant noise of the ATV crowd has finally driven me (and a number of others) away. What used to be a paradise for those who enjoy solitude is now ruined. It's been going on for years but has now reached critical mass (I call it the Moab meltdown). A number of friends I ran into are also getting ready to leave, and some have been there forever. The town has been heavily impacted and one can see signs all over that say, "Throttle down while in town."
A friend who works at the Sand Flats Recreation Area told me that the Jeep/ATV trail, Fins 'N Things, no longer has any dirt on it as it's been worn down to bedrock. A newer event called Rally on the Rocks is expected to bring over 2,000 UTVs in early May. I'm seeing the damage everywhere I go, and the BLM is understaffed to patrol and control this kind of activity.
This same friend actually sold his house in town and moved out in the valley to get away from the ATV noise. New construction is also changing the character of the town, homogenizing it and making it look like other resort towns instead of the funky Moab so many of us loved. And housing is expensive and hard to find, whether renting or buying.
According to the Moab Travel Council, the area has seen an increase in tourism of 18% over the past year. The town is having a meltdown and nobody knows what to do about it, so they just keep advertising it, but now they're trying to inform people of places nearby to visit and thereby lower the impact around the actual town, though it's too late.
The ATV/UTV way has always seemed like a rather selfish way to do things since you have such an impact on others and the land. It seems as if the ATV crowd is more about thrills and challenges than actually getting to know the country and its inhabitants, flora and fauna.
|My back yard - almost two acres of privacy, surrounded by fields. Taken at sunrise, so is a little dark.|
And so, I'm getting off the road for awhile and will retreat to a place where there's still solitude to be found, though for how long I don't know, as the Moab overflow is also now affecting Green River. The RV and state parks are full every night, and I'm seeing more and more traffic in this little town with no stop lights.
I'm currently in Colorado, where I'm getting ready to move the little bit of stuff I have, as well as my cats, who will love the new place, even though they won't be allowed outside, except on the screened-in porch, as they're serial killers. The many squirrels there will keep them entertained, as well as the buzzards who are roosting in the big elm trees on their spring migration.
We'll see how it goes. I won't have the internet, which is good, as I'll be finishing up a couple of books I've been working on. I also plan to explore a lot of the country there that I haven't seen, even though I've spent a lot of time in that area.
And if that doesn't work out, I may just head north, as the Yukon is calling me and it's too far away to ever see the kind of tourism Utah's now getting—hopefully, though I read that Whitehorse is becoming the new in place.
In any case, here's to peace and quiet.
|Sunrise over the La Sals|