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.

*Jeff Schmerker

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