For the past two years, Jim Trees, the founder of the Grand Canyon Trust, has endured criticism over his plan to reconstruct an historic dam in a wilderness study area inside Zion National Park.
Now the green leader and organic
apple farmer from southwest Utah has come up with an
"environmentally friendly" solution that should satisfy wilderness
lovers while keeping his orchards
Last December, Trees announced that
he will replace the 140-year-old earthen diversion on Shunes Creek
with a specially designed rock and cement "side vein weir" just
outside of the park boundary. The new diversion will allow virgin
spinedace, a sensitive fish, to pass by whenever the creek is
flowing. The historic system required a backhoe-built dike that
dammed the entire creek during the irrigation season, cutting off
access for the fish.
Only two weeks before the
announcement, Greer Chesher, a member of the Southern Utah
Wilderness Alliance, criticized Trees and the Trust for failing to
protect the threatened fish. Critics also claimed that the
continued presence of the dam would eliminate the area from
consideration as a wilderness area.
president Geoff Barnard says that "what may have been perceived as
a lack of concern on the Trust's part was actually my recognition
that Jim Trees' intention was to move the diversion out of the