Garfield County commissioners are suspicious of environmentalists. They seem to believe that people who are on the side of ecosystems forests, endangered species, wildlife, fragile deserts are the natural enemies of ranchers and other rural interests.
And it's that suspicion that led the commissioners to refuse the efforts of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources to restore beavers to historical beaver habitat in the mountainous areas of the county.
That's unfortunate, since beavers are, as one DWR official described them, "great riparian managers." The industrious animals build dams, create ponds and lively meadows. They improve wildlife habitat and, at the same time, increase the watershed's capacity to retain runoff and release the overflow when streams are high in the spring and humans downstream need it most.