A retired University of Utah physics professor, Dick and two colleagues established the conservation group in 1972 with "a bumper sticker, a glossy pamphlet and a plan for a Lone Peak Wilderness."
Now Save Our Canyons has more than 3,000 members, a successful track record with the establishment of three wilderness areas in the central Wasatch and, he said, intentions of continuing to protect the mountains, canyons and foothills for years to come.
Save Our Canyons has succeeded and persevered, Dick said, because the "overwhelming majority of the residents of Salt Lake Valley don’t want their canyons urbanized. … Save Our Canyons represents this large constituency."
Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams called him "the perfect choice" for the award. "I’ve had the pleasure of working with Gale. In my opinion, he is one of Salt Lake County’s community treasures. …He is an intelligent, informed and ethical advocate for the preservation of [the Wasatch Canyons] a precious natural asset. Gale is a wonderful example of how public engagement helps achieve outcomes that benefit our entire community."
A violinist, Dick also helped found the Chamber Music Society of Salt Lake City.
The league also honored Lt. Gov. Greg Bell and his elections aide, Mark Thomas, for promoting voting by developing an online registration tool.
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