Utah Travel Headlines Blog

Friday, May 05, 2006

Save Mo’s Valley and The Zen Climbing Wall

Jamie Carpenter of St George submitted this article, seeking public support for an initiative to limit development in this popular recreation area. We encourage members of the public and governmental agencies to study of this issue, and to give high priority to preserving open spaces and unique areas.

On May 3rd 2006 the Southern Utah Climbers Coalition organized the first of many meetings to bring attention to the planning and development of land located west of St. George known to many of the climbing community as “Mo’s Valley” and “The Zen Wall.” Over 45 sport and trad routes have been developed along the Zen Wall, with over 100 feet of vertical exposure overlooking the West Desert. Mo’s Valley is covered with unique sandstone boulders where many climbers have spent months tackling the multiple routes.

Over 1000 acres of pristine hiking, biking and climbing areas have been used by numerous organizations in St. George including the Dixie Desert Racers, the Hiking Club, and the Southern Utah Climbers Coalition. The Green Valley Spa, Red Mountain Spa, and the Body Shop Spa bring hundreds of clients to this area each year making money doing guided hikes and climbs. Local residents enjoy the numerous bike trails along with the photogenic and beautiful natural environment the area provides. The area is located with in the St. George City limits making it a short distance from many residents’ homes. It is truly a unique open space recreational gem that should be preserved.

The meeting on May 3rd 2006 involved representatives from the BLM, St. George City Recreation planning department, Southern Utah Climbers Coalition, local businesses and resorts, and two members from the State Institutional Trust Lands Administration (S.I.T.L.A.).

The City and BLM representatives expressed a common desire to include the area in an overall open space land management plan. S.I.T.L.A. expressed the same interest, making it clear however, the primary purpose of S.I.T.L.A. is to raise funds for the various State Organizations by auctioning off land to the highest bidder. St. George City is currently the 5th fasted growing City in the Nation creating a jackpot for State Land Sales over the last couple of years. S.I.T.L.A. has already made tentative plans to develop parts of this area into one-acre parcels for multi-million dollar houses with auctions as close as a year away.

This is the beginning of many discussions that will take place over the next year involving the planning of this area. For all those who have an interest in the area, now is the time to get involved. Senator Bennett for the State of Utah has proposed a master land use plan for the Washington County Area. The Southern Utah Climbers Coalition plans on working hand in hand with Bennett’s planning process.

For more information about future meetings and plans, or to get your email on the mailing list, please email Jamie Carpenter at carpenter@infowest.com

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