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Donor Highlight: Janet Muir & David Suehsdorf

By Janet Muir

I grew up in Salt Lake, near Mill Creek, and spent some teenage summer days with friends scooting on our seats in cut-offs through the Parley’s Creek culvert near Suicide Rock (even one transit could be hard on the cut-offs - an almost total wardrobe failure, as I recall).

Commonly known as "Shoot the Tube," a culvert under I-80 acts as a impromptu waterslide. | Photo: shiddylife.com

Commonly known as "Shoot the Tube," a culvert under I-80 acts as a impromptu waterslide. | Photo: shiddylife.com

I always wondered where those streams went and how they got to the Jordan River.

Many years later, our son attended a summer program at RISD, and we had the opportunity to witness the full-blown Providence Renaissance, sparked by the daylighting of the Providence River, the creation of Waterplace Park, and the addition of the famously popular WaterFire celebrations. A quite dreary place had become magical.

WaterFire has captured the imagination of over ten million visitors, bringing life to downtown, and revitalizing Rhode Island’s capital city. | Photo: firewater.org

WaterFire has captured the imagination of over ten million visitors, bringing life to downtown, and revitalizing Rhode Island’s capital city. | Photo: firewater.org

Still later, back in Utah, I got involved in the effort to reclaim our dark skies and starry nights.

We donated to the Seven Canyons Trust because Utah’s streams and dark skies are natural resources that have been treated quite badly, and there are now models for reversing the damage. Restoring the basic relationship between snowpack and streambed, and between nighttime and dark somehow seem connected.

Salt Lake City at night. The light pollution, seen in the photo, blocks nighttime star-gazing. | Photo: NASA

Salt Lake City at night. The light pollution, seen in the photo, blocks nighttime star-gazing. | Photo: NASA

In 2012, the Maori people won, for the third largest river in New Zealand, status as a legal entity with rights and representation. Four years earlier, Ecuador’s new constitution granted legal rights to rivers (and forests).

Here in Utah, daylighting our seven canyon streams and preserving our heritage of some of the best dark skies in the world seem relatively modest ways to honor the spectacular natural advantages of the state and the Salt Lake Valley and leave a better place for those who come after us. 

Video: Jeffrey Scott