‘High and dry’ Blanding says no to booze sales — again

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Owachomo Bridge, in Natural Bridges National Monument, Friday, Jan. 13, 2017.

At 6,106 feet in elevation, Blanding certainly is high. And, after Tuesday’s vote, it remains “dry.”

Yes, the city’s ban on booze is still on.

According to unofficial returns late Tuesday night, voters in the conservative southeastern Utah city rejected a proposal to allow beer and wine sales within the city limits.

The preliminary tally, posted on the city’s website, showed 573 votes (66 percent) against allowing alcohol sales and 299 (34 percent) in favor of lifting the 50-year-old prohibition.

Backers who sought the change argued that the city of 3,500-plus residents could benefit economically by permitting the sales.

Blanding, a gateway to some of Utah’s favorite scenic attractions — including Lake Powell, Natural Bridges National Monument, Edge of the Cedars State Park and the new Bears Ears National Monument — lures thousands of tourists a year.

But the city has been “dry” since 1967. There were attempts in 1973, 1983 and, again, in 1988 to reverse the prohibition on beer and wine sales, but all proved unsuccessful.

It seems 2017 is no different.

Reporter Kathy Stephenson contributed to this story.