This was the country the Mormons settled, the country which, as Brigham Young with some reason hoped, no one else wanted. Its destiny was plain on its face, its contempt of man and his history and his theological immortality, his Millennium, his Heaven on Earth, was monumentally obvious. Its distances were terrifying, its cloudbursts catastrophic, its beauty flamboyant and bizarre and allied with death.
The Utah deserts and plateaus and canyons are not a country of big returns, but a country of spiritual healing, incomparable for contemplation, meditation, solitude, quiet, awe, peace of mind and body. We were born of wilderness, and we respond to it more than we sometimes realize. We depend upon it increasingly for relief from the termite life we have created. Factories, power plants, resorts, we can make anywhere. Wilderness, once we have given it up, is beyond our reconstruction.
Wilderness and the life dependent on it are fragile entities. They can be destroyed in a matter of years, if not days. Legislative protection is the surest way to maintain a wilderness reserve on our hungry and crowded planet. When wilderness is protected, watershed is protected. Biological diversity is protected. Game is protected. The proper functioning of a natural system is protected. Our quality of life is protected.
Rep. Wayne Owens (D-UT) on his bill, H.R. 1500, to protect 5.7 million acres of southern Utah, Wilderness at the Edge
In 1849 the Mormons organized a "free and independent" government and erected the "State of Deseret," with Brigham Young as its head. But the very next year Congress deliberately snubbed it and created the "Utah Territory" out of the same accumulation of mountains, sage-brush, alkali and general desolation, -- but made Brigham Governor of it.