That’s me, in a little six-seater plane flying from Moab to the put-in for “Down the River with Everett Ruess and Friends”—the river trip down Desolation Canyon described in this issue’s story, “Nowhere Man.” 

Although thousands of people have traveled down the Green River since Maj. John Wesley Powell’s harrowing first journey in 1869, this was my first river trip—a personal exploration of new territory and new knowledge. After riding the river all day, we would gather together and share songs, readings and thoughts about Everett Ruess, the young artist-wanderer who disappeared into the Utah wilderness in 1934. There were lots of musings about why people explore and the relationship between humans and the land. Our Utah landscape is our most valuable treasure. There is nothing like it in the U.S., likely nothing like it in the world. Countless people have devoted their lives to exploring it and understanding it but the more we know, the more questions there are. In this issue, we explore several aspects of Utah’s natural world—its canyons, its history and its science.

One of the state’s most treasured resources is “The Greatest Snow on Earth.” We say that a lot and most of us have experienced why it’s so great—light, powdery, frequent. Yet we don’t understand what makes it so. Jen Hill looks into what causes our famous powder and then takes a peek into the future—with the climate changing so fast, how long will our snow last? That concern is just a sliver of the bigger question: How long can Utah prosper if we don’t protect our greatest treasure?

 

 

 


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