A few weeks back while in Utah I had the good fortune of being introduced to Randy Ramsley, an unlikely environmental hero, who is a farmer in an unlikely location… the Caineville Badlands. Randy Ramsley’s Mesa Market and his organic farm are situated between Highway 24 and the Caineville wash. While driving through you wouldn’t think it, but this small greenbelt in the heart of the desert produces incredible food no less a result of the incredibly hard work put in by Randy and his staff.
Not too far off in the distance from Mesa Market is Factory Butte and a wide stretch of desert wilderness. This area is filled with amazing formations created over tens if not hundreds of thousands of years and a unique ecosystem filled with a variety of plants and animals that have evolved to survive the harsh arid climate. This beautiful yet arid land has been under pressure from off-road enthusiasts who use the sandy flats and high banking ancient buttes & dunes as 4×4 fodder.
Photographed: Factory Butte in the distance with 4×4 tracks marring the landscape in the foreground
Randy has been involved in trying to work with local and state government agencies in addition to environmental groups to help preserve this unique ecosystem from destruction by recreational motorists. As with most environmental battles the ongoing battle to preserve this land has been fought for sometime and is often reminiscent of a “David and Goliath” type battle. Randy who is on the front lines due to the location of his home and business has stepped up to face the odds and fight for what he feels is right. After you talk with him about the subject you can’t help but feel charged to make a difference. It is that facet of Randy’s personality that is most infectious.
Randy personifies the difference an individual can make, but it takes a lot more than an individual willing to publicly stand up for what he believes is right. The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) is an organization that works with Randy and other like minded individuals to fight for the preservation of wild lands and endangered plant & animal species in Utah. The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) website is a critical resource for those interested in helping preserve this and other wilderness areas in Southern Utah.
With very recent news of the Bureau of Land Management proposing 2 million acres of land including the Factory Butte area to be opened for oil exploration and off-roading it is critical for those who value our environment to step up and help individuals like Randy Ramsley and organizations like SUWA.
BLM proposes 2 million acres for oil exploration, off-roading – Salt Lake Tribute
While enjoying a cinnamon roll at Mesa Market, one of Randy’s signature pastries, I was pointed to his copy of Thrillcraft: The Environmental Consequences of Motorized Recreation. This book details photographically the impact of motorized recreational vehicles not just on the Coyote Buttes area, but other fragile desert and mountain environments. If there is any doubt to the lasting impact these vehicles and activities have on the environment this book clearly put them to rest. As if it wasn’t enough to discuss this book with Randy and Guy Tal, who introduced me to Randy, by the time I got home I had a book review of Thrillcraft by Roger Kaye in my mailbox via the June Wilderness Watch newsletter.Â This was hardly coincidence. Those that are fighting for the protection of this area are working hard to raise awareness to this issue. Given all their sacrifice and effort it raises the questions, “What can you do to help?”
If you can’t join Randy in his local fight then consider taking action via the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) Action Center. To find out about issues impacting wilderness in your area consider joining and supporting Wilderness Watch or Earth Justice. It goes with out saying if you’re passing through the Capitol Reef National Park area via Highway 24 stop by Mesa Market to support Randy Ramsley
Additional write-ups to check out:
[tags]Randy Ramsley, SUWA, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Caineville, Utah, environment, BLM, conservation, Caineville, Utah[/tags]