This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Billboards. Utah's tourism industry now is $8 billion a year. Bigger than oil, gas and coal. Yet, to get a good view of Mt. Timpanogos, you must glimpse at it between the Reagan Outdoor Advertising and YESCO billboards for Utah County car dealerships.
Reagan Outdoor Advertising has given $349,792.16 to state and local Utah politicians since 2011.
Utah's Mighty Five national parks draw record breaking numbers of tourists every year. Yet the last Legislature approved a bill allowing private property owners to sell advertising along Utah's scenic highways.
Billboards or scenic views? Private property rights versus the common good? A complicated issue, but one we should be talking about. Many states have prohibited outdoor advertising in rural and scenic areas. It can be done. We should do it also. Those who have travelled through Europe remember the views of the vineyards and the castles. Not the next McDonald's.
Our money-leaving tourist friends should be able to see Delicate Arch and Zion Park without the haze from the power plants and without the view-blocking billboards while getting there.
But money talks with the Utah Legislature, and, obviously, with Gov. Gary Herbert. Hopefully, votes soon will talk louder, but the "R"s always seem to win.
Salt Lake City