Let's "work with the situation'
Gerry Rankin moved
from Salt Lake City to Big Water, Utah, pop. 350, more than six
years ago. When she isn't teaching at the town's only school, she
is the mayor of the town, which lies just a few miles west of Lake
Powell. Until recently, Big Water was known primarily as the town
through which Andalex Coal Co. wanted to bring out coal from its
proposed mine on the nearby Kaiparowits
Gerry Rankin: "The
biggest worry we have here is keeping our kids from saying the "F"
word. There's no knives or guns in the schools, and we don't have
any street gangs. We don't even have streets.
had high hopes for Andalex. Not that most people wanted to see us
become a big city. Most moved here to get away from that. The
(mining and trucking) jobs would have been good, but having one
coal truck come right by this school every seven minutes would have
been a problem.
"We don't have an abundance of
commercial activity. Our convenience/gas store burned last summer
and reopened a mile away, with no gas tanks. The restaurant is
temporarily closed. This is a rough time of year. From May to
October, there's lots of tourists attracted to Lake Powell. But
Arizona gets most of the Lake Powell business because they've
developed their shoreline. Boat storage is our biggest commercial
"I've written (Interior Secretary
Bruce) Babbitt, President Bill Clinton and the BLM asking that we
be involved with planning for the monument. I feel it's better to
work with the situation as we find it."