This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
When was the last time you visited Escalante? Fifty miles east of Bryce Canyon, Escalante is smack in the middle of the Wild West. Residents who want to live here have created viable and sustainable livelihoods for themselves.
Since 1996, when the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was established, many new buildings and businesses have emerged. Escalante offers a rare resource: quiet, beautiful wild lands that will last eons. This attracts people to come and explore this unique geological area.
Entrepreneurs and telecommuters have flocked to Escalante, opening retail stores, restaurants, guide services, high-end lodging, etc. These businesses thrive because they meet the needs of tourists seeking adventure or solitude.
If the monument was not wrapped around Escalante and mining was permitted, this fair city would be a far different place. Coal, oil, and natural gas only lasts until it's gone, but pristine lands can last forever.
As Sally Gibbs said in 1887, "If you want something badly enough you are going to find a way." Escalante has found a way to survive, to thrive, even in these rough economic times, without destroying what is so valuable to us all: unspoiled public lands.
Sandy Brown Board member, Escalante Chamber of Commerce