Day 13 in the calendar year 2012. A day in March unlike most days in March in recorded history as the warmth and horrible snow conditions in the Central Rockies is unprecedented. So it's off to the desert where we will not miss the snow.
Our mission is to facilitate the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) in its quest to protect some of the most fragile and important landscapes on the Colorado Plateau. We accepted the mission and Starship 1XE departed Canyonlands Airport in Moab early in the morning and were greeted by the kind of light and landscape that only Southern Utah can provide. With our flight path following the Green River, 1XE climbed up and over the Book Cliffs and looking at the Gasco oil and natural gas development, and the Bill Barrett land swap, we were both encouraged and disappointed by the politics and controversy over this wild landscape.
Encouraged because of the historic 2010 Bill Barrett land exchange: a deal facilitated by SUWA to reduce the number of proposed wells from Barrett's initial gas development proposal, and to keep the development out of some of the rock art and cultural assets of Nine Mile Canyon while allowing the company significant oil and gas development.
And incredibly disappointed to find out after we landed, that the hard work by SUWA and other groups to protect Desolation Canyon has been turned upside down by the administration's latest edicts concerning our public lands. The consensus approach was thrown out and a new alternative selected, impacting even more wilderness quality lands than the industry proposed alternative.
It is like the administration was all for protecting Desolation Canyon, until they were against it. Election year politics? At any rate it is indisputable that these are special lands, and if you have ever kayaked or rafted through Desolation and Grey Canyons you have an idea of what I am talking about.
I am including a short video of our overflight that will give you the feeling of a bird soaring over this landscape, with our photos overlaid on Google Earth technology. If you have a moment, "fly along with us" to see for yourselves why this landscape is so worthy of protection.
We are very proud to be working with organizations like SUWA, who have put in the time and sweat and have years of understanding of these special places, and we are proud to fly them as they make a stand and continue to be a voice for the environment.