This is an archived article that was published on in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Without even looking at the Utah Tourism Office's new "Road to Mighty" advertising campaign, you can take some pretty good guesses about what will not be shown in the Red Rock travelog. The one the state is spending $4.6 million on to promote the state to new waves of cash-carrying visitors.

There will be no oil rigs. No coal mines. No tar sand projects. No refineries. No Stericycle. No Salt Lake City during a throat-choking winter inversion.

Of course none of those eyesores will appear in the TV spots, social media promotions and print ads because, obviously, they'd be bad for business. The tourism business. The one that Utah can promote and profit from for many generations to come. Often without having to feel the least bit guilty about it.

The idea of the new campaign is to build on the state's best-known assets, the national parks known collectively as The Mighty Five. The first TV spots stress the fact there is more to Utah than those parks and feature scenes of people in cars, on motorcycles and on foot taking in the natural wonders that are found on other lands.

"You were made to travel this road," the narrator says. "It belongs to you. It is your birthright."

That sentiment is not only inspiring, and true, it also stands in marked contrast to contradictory efforts — and larger state expenditures — by state officials who want to take those birthrights away from the American people.

The drive to take 31 million acres of federal land away from all the people it now belongs to and turn it over to state or private ownership, to which the Legislature has recently devoted another $4.5 million. Or the futile effort to save the coal industry by sinking $53 million in state money into development of port facility in Oakland, Calif., supposedly to help ship Utah coal overseas.

To be clear, nobody in a position of responsibility in Utah wants to take over or privatize any national park or land already designated as wilderness. But the ongoing efforts to take millions of acres away from federal control and/or to open more land for oil and gas drilling and the mining of coal and other minerals amount to a foolish bet against the more sustainable economic future built on tourism and the preservation, not destruction, of the state's abundant natural beauty.

No single sector — not energy development, not tourism — will support the state's economy all by itself. But the recent plummet in the price of oil and the bankruptcy-laden state of the coal industry demonstrate the need for public and private efforts to pursue industries that are not subject to the boom-and-bust cycles of commodities and do not actively damage the golden goose that is the natural state of Utah.

Getting our state's political leaders to watch the "Road to Mighty" commercials that they've already paid for might be a good start.