Sign of the times
Jordanelle, Utah's newest state park, opened in early
July with a new mountain reservoir and a good deal of controversy.
A park sign that was supposed to educate visitors about the damage
cattle can cause in streamside vegetation included pictures of a
cow standing next to a damaged stream and a cowpie. The text read:
"These photos show the dramatic effect livestock grazing can have
on a stream like the Provo River. The photo on the left shows
streambed damage caused by grazing cattle, while the photo on the
right depicts a stream's appearance where grazing is restricted."
Utah Rep. Tom Hatch, a member of the Natural Resources
Appropriations Committee and a southern Utah rancher, saw the sign
on a visit to the area, seven miles from the ski town of Park City,
and took offense. He contacted the Department of Natural Resources
officials, who shortly thereafter announced they would cover the
pictures and rewrite the display. The new sign won't mention cows,
but will blame humans for unhealthy streams. New photos will hint
that wildlife also cause damage. Wayne Martinson of the Audubon
Society called the episode "revisionist natural history." According
to Fred Hayes, Jordanelle's education specialist, no one at the
park thought the sign was offensive.