Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Courtesy | Nilauro Markus) Stansbury Island Evaporation Ponds.
Photos: Celebrating 50 years of Utah wilderness
Preservation » Photo exhibit commemorates 50th anniversary of the signing of the Wilderness Act.
First Published Sep 01 2014 01:01 am • Last Updated Sep 02 2014 11:06 am

Bill Rau likes to visit a spot in Utah’s Book Cliffs. He doesn’t want you to know where it is, but he sure wants you to know how beautiful and wild it is.

The place north of Interstate 70 is the subject of his black and white photograph "Storm’s Light," which is among 50 images selected for a juried exhibit to open Wednesday at the Natural History Museum of Utah.

At a glance

Utah Wilderness 50

What » A juried photo exhibit celebrating Utah’s scenic and wild places for the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.

Where » Natural History Museum of Utah, Salt Lake City

When » Sept. 3 to Dec. 14

For more information, visit www.nhmu.utah.edu/wilderness50/.

Celebrating 50 years of wilderness

The next two months will see numerous events commemorating wilderness preservation around the country, spanning a variety of organizations that include the Smithsonian Institution, universities, environmental groups and land management agencies.

Albuquerque hosts the National Wilderness Conference Oct. 15-19, where Utah author Terry Tempest Williams will be a featured speaker.

The U.S. Forest Service is sponsoring an essay contest, with submissions due Sept. 20. The Wilderness Writing Challenge has a 500-word limit, but 140-character tweets also are welcome. Find details at 1.usa.gov/1oEOvqj.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The show, Utah Wilderness 50, commemorates the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Wilderness Act into law. The legislation, written by Howard Zahniser of The Wilderness Society, established the National Wilderness Preservation System, which recognizes wilderness as "an area where the Earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain."

"We are focusing on the diversity and richness of wilderness in Utah," said museum exhibit designer Tim Lee, who moderated the jury.

Lee aimed to feature images representing all three of Utah’s geographic regions — the Rocky Mountains, the Basin Range and the Colorado Plateau — arranged so they "blend seamlessly together" in the museum’s retrofitted Sky Gallery on the top floor.

The jury studied 1,500 images from several hundred photographers, who were limited to five submissions each.

"We went for the 50 strongest, but we didn’t want 10 from the same spot on the Great Salt Lake," said juror Stephen Trimble, a Salt Lake City author. "We made a rule that we would pick only one picture from the same photographer."

The judging panel included wildlife photographer Rosalie Winard and landscape photographers Tom Till and James Kay.

While the exhibit commemorates the wilderness legislation, it is not limited to lands that have been designated as wilderness — currently totaling about 1 million acres in Utah, mostly in alpine areas in national forests and covering two percent of the state.

Wilderness designations have become one of Utah’s most divisive political issues. About 154,350 acres of desert terrain overseen by the Bureau of Land Management have been designated, although the agency manages 3 million acres as wilderness study areas.


story continues below
story continues below

Advocates are hoping to see far more land protected, while opponents argue not one more acre should be "locked up."

"The show includes any federal lands that had the feeling of wilderness, no roads, no structures. This is more a celebration than a piece of political advocacy," Trimble said.

"I was impressed we got pictures from people shooting in places they loved," he said. "Lots of the places will be familiar and that’s OK. Those are the places that are icons. Those are the places that convert people and motivate them to seek out those more remote places."

Rau shot his Book Cliffs photo last fall while thunderclouds, pregnant with monsoonal precipitation, passed overhead, throwing the canyons and mesas in and out of shadow.

"It epitomizes southeast Utah with that sense of being wilderness even though it’s not designated wilderness," Rau said. "You really have to be determined to go there. Not many people from this part of Utah [Grand County] go there."

Despite the presence of cows, uranium deposits, potash ponds and drill rigs, the Book Cliffs and the canyon country to the south still have many untrammeled wonders worth saving, he said.

"There is nowhere in the world equal to southeast Utah in terms of landscapes and ability to get out in wild areas and feel like maybe you’re the first person who has ever been there. That’s how I feel when I visit the Book Cliffs," he said.

"That’s a highly emotional feeling. You can feel the essence of the land coming up through your body and you feel like a more whole person."

bmaffly@sltrib.com



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.