A proud and defiant native
Though as a child she lived in Idaho and for a
while in Tooele, Utah, Garfield County Commissioner Louise Liston
has always considered her birthplace, Escalante, home. Before
becoming a commissioner 10 years ago, Liston taught in a one-room
school in the town of Boulder. Under her leadership, Garfield
County has waged a rhetorical and legal battle against federal land
Louise Liston: "I
love the land, and it's different from an environmentalist's love.
We have a deep, abiding love; they have a weekend love affair.
Their love is intense and passionate, but it's not an abiding love.
That kind of love comes from making a living off the land. They go
back to their amenities in their cities, while we continue to eke
out an existence.
think the president didn't know what he was doing when he created
the monument. If he had visited the site, his perception would have
been changed. He said, "We can't have coal mines everywhere." Well,
that's right. We can only have mines where the coal is. Besides,
the Kaiparowits is the ugliest place in the whole
"But the monument is
here and we've got to make something happen for the best. There are
areas in the monument that deserve wilderness designation. In those
places we could agree with environmentalists. But they want to drag
the issue out for 70 years to keep their organizations
"We are already getting
bombarded with visitors. Over Easter, the Hole-in-the-Rock road was
bumper-to-bumper cars, and there were great clouds of dust. People
were pulled off on all the side roads, and in the evening there
were campfires everywhere. One couple in a Cadillac asked where
they could climb the Grand Staircase. These people don't have any
idea how rugged this country is. There will be
inevitable, but I think the land is going to be a victim. People
will do a lot of damage that cattle and cowboys never did. You
can't preserve the land and kick off the people. Rural values are
the salvation of this country. I hate to see that go. We all do."