Letter to the Editor: Keep Northern Corridor highway out of Red Cliffs and my backyard

Cottonwood Trail in Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, Southern Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Rebecca Vail, St. George News

OPINION — My husband and I recently moved to the north end of Green Springs Drive in Washington City. We left Salt Lake City to get away from city sprawl, poor air quality, traffic, light pollution and noise.

We moved to Southern Utah for the natural beauty including the night sky, clean air, beautiful vistas, wildlife, quiet, and access to hiking, biking and walking trails. We enjoy these natural treasures because the protected Red Cliffs National Conservation Area (NCA) is in our backyard.

We are deeply concerned about losing these treasures because of the proposed Northern Corridor Highway.

This summer, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is studying the highway in a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIS). The BLM is asking for public comment on different alignments of the Northern Corridor Highway. Three alignments would travel through the Red Cliffs NCA, hurting the environment and homeowners. Two alignments located outside the Red Cliffs NCA would reduce traffic and protect homeowners and the environment.

We feel that the BLM-preferred alignment for the Northern Corridor Highway will negatively affect our quality of life and that of our neighbors living in this beautiful area. We also feel it will decrease the value of all of our properties. It could also negatively affect tourism and the draw of increased revenue to our area.

The orange, purple and green lines show the three highway alignments inside the Red Cliffs NCA. The purple line is the BLM-preferred alignment. The blue and pink lines show the two highway alignments outside the Red Cliffs NCA and away from peaceful neighborhoods in Green Springs. This map can be found in the Draft EIS Volume 3, page 115.

People travel here because of the beauty. Had we known about the proposed highway, I’m sure we would have made a different decision.

Once the Red Cliffs NCA is opened up with a highway, what will be in place to stop development from spreading right up to the top of the hillsides like we have seen happen over our lifetimes in many different cities?

BLM, please FULLY consider the Northern Corridor alternatives outside the Red Cliffs NCA. These are the options with less impact on us, our neighbors, and the environment, and more in line with conservation of this beautiful area. Why wouldn’t you? Please do your due diligence and protect what you promised to protect.

To my neighbors in Green Springs, please write a comment to the BLM before the deadline on Sept. 10.  Find out how to submit your comment on the BLM website for the Northern Corridor Highway.

Submitted by REBECCA VAIL and WILL ZIMMER, Washington City.

Letters to the Editor are not the product of St. George News, its editors, staff or news contributors. The matters stated and opinions given are the responsibility of the person submitting them. They do not reflect the product or opinion of St. George News and are given only light edit for technical style and formatting.

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