Sunday, September 14, 2008

Pipeline Trek Hits the Sunday Paper

I couldn't quite tell whether Scott's favorite moment Saturday was when we finished our 25 mile ride or when he started into his second dinner at 9:30 p.m. He and I are both really drained from an energy standpoint but, not surprisingly, we're invigorated by the stunning landscapes we've seen in Kane County and the amount of intrigue about the Trek that we encounter everywhere we go.

Part of that intrigue made it to the Sunday editorial page of The Spectrum. The editors encourage readers to learn more about the Pipeline and its alternatives by attending the two debates set for Monday, Sept. 15th (between my opponent Alan Gardner and I) and Tuesday, Sept. 16th (between State Senate candidate Brooks Pace and Washington County Water Conservancy District Manager Ron Thompson. The Monday Alder/Gardner debate will be at a dramatically scenic viewpoint atop the Hurricane Cliffs at the historic Honeymoon Trail (scroll down for a map and directions). This is the route Mormon pioneers followed from northern Arizona to be married in the St. George Temple.

A carpool/caravan will be leaving for the Honeymooon Trail debate site at 6:30 p.m. from a pullout on the southwest side of Highway 59 that is 2.7 miles up the road from the bottom of the Hurricane Fault in Hurricane (just east of the Chums office building). You are welcome to join the carpool/caravan, just be sure to be at the pullout no later than 6:30 p.m on Monday night. It will definitely be a family oriented "citizenship in your community" event so kids are invited.

Here's the map and directions to the Honeymoon Trail event:

A highlight of Saturday's 25 mile bike ride today came as we pedaled through what seemed like a botanical garden full of yellow and white blooming bushes. The colorful plants seemed to cover just a few acres on either side of the dirt road but their contrast with the otherwise gray sage brush definitely caught our eyes. We wondered how long ago some microburst brought extra rain to this tiny patch.

Scott introduced me to a new term today: "potato dirt." It's the light, almost puffy soil in sage brush country that is very easy to work with a shovel. It almost feels like a pillow under foot. Today's ride was almost completely in potato dirt country which means putting in the pipeline would be much easier than at the Cockscomb to the east or the Hurricane Cliffs to the West. But we felt the same today as yesterday--this proposed pipeline route is very, very long and the hills are really, really big.

In fact, a hilarious moment happened yesterday when Scott and I were so tired during a water break that we could barely talk, much less think straight. We tried calculating the number of pounds of water the Pipeline pumps would have to lift each year. So many zeros!! We'll need to re-check the math once we've rested up but we think its about 3 billion pounds each year. That means a LOT of electricity.

After catching much needed showers and carb-heavy dinners last night, we ventured over to the Kanab City Library where a crowd of about 50 members of the Kane County Taxpayer Association and unaffiliated Kanab residents were gathered. The highlight of the evening was a very spirited debate between Kane County Water District Manager Mike Noel and Citizens for Dixie's Future Executive Director Paul Van Dam.

My take home message from the debate is that citizens involved with the conversation about the Pipeline are becoming more informed and empowered to challenge the establishment thinking about southwest Utah's water future. One of my favorite highlights was when Mike Noel said that Ron Thompson has no influence over who is selected to serve on the Washington County Water Conservancy District Board. This statement drew an immediate response from Paul Van Dam. "That's a falsehood," Van Dam said, completely deadpan.

Our next leg of the Trek involves about 10 miles of hiking from Highway 389 west of Fredonia to Highway 89 at the Kaibab Paiute Reservation and then another 10 miles of bike riding on 389 almost to Colorado City. Luckily we don't have any blisters so far but I could use some lotion for my sunburned face!

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