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Utah wanted all the tourists. Then it got them.

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Rockies Today

January 30 · Issue #71 · View online
The big stories up and down the Rocky Mountains, curated by Mountain West News

At capacity
As red-rock meccas like Moab, Zion, and Arches become overrun with visitors, Mark Sundeen wonders if Utah’s celebrated Mighty Five ad campaign worked too well—and who gets to decide when a destination is “at capacity.”
Utah wanted all the tourists. Then it got them. Utah wanted all the tourists. Then it got them.
Maybe complaints like mine are just a lot of pissing in the wind by white people who, if we really want to know what it’s like to be pushed off the land by newcomers, should go talk to an Indian. True. Yet the forces of history that stole the continent from Natives are similar to those that now sell it. The machinery of civilization churned across the West, slayed the buffalo, dammed the Missouri and the Colorado and the Green and the Columbia—and will next gobble up our world’s most precious commodity: solitude. What society needed then was land and timber and buffalo hides, and it took them. In the 20th century, it needed water and electricity, so it stopped the rivers. Now it needs Mystery and Mystical, and it will advertise and sell them until they’re gone. 
So which are we: The boy crying wolf about a land that will nurture us no matter what? Or the frog in the pot, unable to sense how bad it already is? I don’t want to just be a curmudgeon who mourns the passage of time, who fights any change to the landscape because conceding change concedes my own mortality. I will never be young again, I get that. But maybe, if the sorrow of human life is our inevitable death, then one way we tap into the eternal is to see how that which is not made by our hand will outlast us all, just as it preceded us. 
Colorado lax in taxing frackers
Millions in oil, gas taxes may have been lost because Colorado regulators didn’t enforce reporting rules Millions in oil, gas taxes may have been lost because Colorado regulators didn’t enforce reporting rules
Meanwhile, in Utah…
Utah lawmakers hold up oil and gas budget in wake of scathing audit
More oil and gas news:
Activists file initiative to ban oil and gas drilling in Denver
Over protests, BLM leases Wyoming lands for development
Teck Frontier oilsands mine might not be built even if permit issued, CEO concedes
Construction permit for Keystone XL gets a 'no' recommendation from Nebraska county
South Dakota governor renews push for 'riot boosting' laws
Study: Methane emissions in central U.S. twice EPA estimates
Tipping points
EIA expects U.S. electricity generation from renewables to soon surpass nuclear and coal EIA expects U.S. electricity generation from renewables to soon surpass nuclear and coal
Bust times in a former Wyoming coal boomtown
Another commercial solar farm proposed for Sweetwater County, Wyoming
Solar farms sprout in southwest Wyoming
What Australia's megafires mean for the West
Startups aim to pay farmers to bury carbon pollution in soil
Lawmakers tackle severe drought in the West
Montana climate panel forwards recommendations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions
The Guardian continues to lead the way on climate change policy, and will no longer run oil or gas ads
Warren Buffett sold off his newspapers—and a lot of optimism about the industry went with them
Climate change: 'Social tipping points' are the only hope
Wolf whack-a-mole
Idaho Fish and Game moves to create ‘wolf-free zones,’ expand hunting, trapping season Idaho Fish and Game moves to create ‘wolf-free zones,’ expand hunting, trapping season
Wolf debate heats up
Meanwhile…
Wolf territory is expanding in southwest Oregon
What else we're reading today
BLM to begin removing employees who reject relocation
Beetle infestation slows in Southwest Colorado, but only for lack of trees
Meet the father-son duo out to combat homelessness with empathy and connection
Addressing Montana’s health ‘deserts’
Trump administration moves to ease rules against killing birds
Who has access to the West?
Rockies Today is edited by Matthew Frank, Fellow in Regional Journalism at the O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West at the University of Montana. 
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O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West, University of Montana, Missoula, Montana, 59812