Several weeks ago, I attended one of the more interesting meetings of the year. It was hosted by the Outdoor Adventure Commission, the Division of Outdoor Recreation, and the Institute of Outdoor Recreation & Tourism at Utah State University. The meeting gathered an array of 31 outdoor recreation stakeholders, Mountain Trails Foundation included, for the purpose of outlining The Utah Outdoor Recreation Strategic Plan. There, posted across walls and giant picture windows, were oversized maps of Utah’s mountain-lands region, illustrating an impressive inventory of recreational assets. In addition to assets, attendees and maps, what was also impressive were the vast areas of undeveloped, and undevelopable, land in this region. While population density increases, stressing precious resources, rest assured there will always be outdoor spaces for recreation in Utah.
A quote from the movie High Country, featuring a beloved local leader, Myles Rademan, about the evolution of Crested Butte’s growth rang true. “Progress isn’t always fitted with brakes or steering.” However, in the name of protecting Utah’s outdoor recreation assets, the above-listed organizations are taking conscious steps to add brakes and steering to progress.
As we look toward a future population that, whether we like it or not, is growing, we can dig in our heels, pump fists of indignation and resist with all our might the changes that will, regardless of our disdain, still come because our children and others need places to live. Or, with intelligence, we can cast our vision up the road to foresee and capture opportunities to mitigate impacts, craft solutions and create harmony in our beloved communities.
By no stretch of imagination do I claim to be an expert on Buddhism, but I know wisdom when I see it. So as we cast the long view on what Utah’s recreation experience will be in 10 years, perhaps the Noble Eightfold Path of Right Understanding, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration is the Right Place to Start – I am confident we’re on the Right Path.
Hope to see you out there!