Canyonlands and Arches Spared Industrial Scenes

Last December, when staying in Moab, Utah, I wrote about the obnoxious plan in the waning days of the Bush 43 administration to sell off oil and gas leases on land in sight of Arches and Canyonlands National Parks on a Friday right before Christmas--a sneak it by 'em approach that rightly set off protests.

This week, new Interior Secretary Ken Salazar canceled the leases and voided the whole operation. There will be no oil and gas extraction machinery on these magnificent landscapes, and I (along with many others) and very pleased to report it. Thanks to President Obama and Secretary Salazar for putting a stop to it.

Photograph from the Grand Valley Trail, at the southern end of the Island in the Sky mesa in Canyonlands National Park. The canyon walls at the convergence of the Colorado and Green Rivers are visible beyond the rock shelf that dominates the image. The snaking line at the left is a road that follows the famous White Rim trail.