September 25, 2016

Keeping the West Wild

“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread. A civilization which destroys what little remains of the wild, the spare, the original, is cutting itself off from its origins and betraying the principle of civilization itself.”

Edward Abbey

 

Utah Author Edward Abbey had a deep  appreciation for the wildness of the west. There is something very special in a place that allows vast tracks of wilderness to go largely untamed, where humans are foreign guests rather than permanent residents. Abbey lamented how our national parks have attempted to tame some of the most wild areas in the state, and he especially regretted the decision to flood the ancient canyons and archiology inside of the Colorado River rage with Glenn Canyon.

Examining the wildness of the West from the perspective of folklore and the Western migration, we see a parallel histories of how the Utah territory went from a trappers paradise, to an outlaws refuge to a gold mining boom weaving alongside the dominant story of the Mormon’s New Zion. All the threads that brought people here presented  a promise of starting something new and grand in an untamed territory where freedom has reigned supreme.  The speed that the West has grown, become civilized and tame is incredible, when compared to the growth and development of nearly any other region on Earth.  Remembering these Wild West roots from which Utah has grown is an important part in maintaining our cultural identity. For this reason Utah Stories presents Utah’s Wild West past and present. Twelve stories about our wild west past and present.

 

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