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Shutdown shows weakness of tourism economy

Published October 12, 2013 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Were it not for the economic hardship hurting our neighbors in the tourist industry, it would be tempting to gloat just a little. Our friends at SUWA, Writers on the Range and assorted Tribune staffers never fail to advocate "sustainable industries," i.e. "tourism," while deriding and obstructing timber, mining and petroleum projects as having only short-term benefits.

Economic reliance on a single industry, regardless of its perception as eco-friendly or green is a recipe for an "emergency," as declared by nine southern counties. Having a preponderance of its eggs in the tourism basket makes many rural counties vulnerable to the vagaries of politicians and budgets in Washington, D.C.

We're well-advised to take the long view, abandon the rhetoric about what's "sustainable" and what isn't and acknowledge that a balanced economy provides the economic diversity and longevity that sustains communities for generations.

It might also be worthwhile for the eco-fanatics in our midst to remember that the lightweight packs, kayaks, bikes and boots used by tourists as well as the fuel to get them to and around Utah, are derived from the metals and petroleum production they are quick to eschew, dismiss and obstruct.

Bruce Decker

Salt Lake City