Letter: South Canyon perspective | PostIndependent.com

Letter: South Canyon perspective

“Civilization exists by geologic consent, subject to change at a moments notice.” – Will Durant        

Few people have truly seen South Canyon. The views from the county road, the hot springs, and the valley bottom allows but a fleeting glimpse of the actual breadth and grandeur experienced from the surrounding mountain tops. 

Hike up the high shale slope, east from the landfill gate, and you will discover a saddle gently sloping towards a view of Paradise Creek. Isolated from any beaten paths rests this breathtakingly vast, square bottomed, open valley dressed by inaccessible ruggedness in an unaccountable wilderness spirit. 

Do I sabotage my own intention by publicizing such a phenomenal vantage point? I vote to allow Mr. Beckley to build his 20 or 40 acres in the marsh and shadow of this vistaless valley floor, yet vehemently protect the vital corridors the wildlife depends on.      

The life forms I study are encased as fossils in the rocks. Abundant sea life, from cretaceous age baculites, ammonites, jasperized wood, bryozoan sea lace and bi-valve shells to Triassic age coral, coquina, marine plankton, algae and tiny crustaceans encased in chert of the chinle formation. Dinosaur fossils, (possibly plesiosaur), are found in Jurassic age shale deposits on both sides of South Canyon.

To suggest building a facility to lure visitors to soak in the natural mineral springs at this current location in the creek bottom is to ignore any basic understanding of the staggering forcefulness and spontaneity our powerful earth can unleash. 

The steep and barren slopes above are composed quite largely of a limy mud deposited below the shallow cretaceous seas and has since turned to shale. The history of the canyon, in terms of man’s involvement, is so brief and unremarkable it would offend me to think that no plan to include informative signs along the new trail path to extol the virtues of the impressive geologic riches is a vanity of humanity, thinking their 200 years is somehow more significant than the 200 million years the maker has taken to produce this monument to the tenacious nature of life.   

Alan Noland

New Castle


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