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National Monument an Unwise Choice

Sedona AZ (September 30, 2015) – The following is a letter to the SedonaEye.com editor:

Following is a letter I sent to the Sedona City Council, Chamber of Commerce and also the Cottonwood Mayor regarding the Verde Valley/Sedona National Monument.

Dear Sedona City Council and Sedona Chamber members,

Sedona Red Rock View exclusive SedonaEye.com photo by Eric Williams c2015

Sedona Red Rock View exclusive SedonaEye.com photo by Eric Williams c2015

I am writing you because we have lived in Sedona for nine years. We have two businesses here and I have been visiting Sedona for an additional 20 years. We have seen the changes over a long period of time.

Below is a link written in the Arizona Republic today from Chairman Kurt Davis, Game and Fish, giving important financial and real life information about how the National Park is not taking care of the Grand Canyon and how making it a National Monument would harm the State. Keep in mind that we have very little land here to support our State with tax money. Only 13% is private land to produce taxes.

When we are considering giving over our decision making ability and our tax base to another entity, it is key to look and see just how others are being abused by the Federal Government management team.


Many important facts are noted in this article that should be taken into consideration regarding giving away the little power we have in Sedona. A representative from the Forest Service gave an eye opening presentation at the Elks Club Monument meeting last week regarding all that is being done every day to preserve our land while still keeping it open for people to enjoy and appreciate. They also will be working with grants recently received to help continue with ongoing improvements.

sedona marathon 23This is funding we are certain of. We know that 100% of it is staying in this area. It is not being divided up for other projects outside the Verde Valley/Sedona area. They are also working with volunteer organizations that make a huge impact. They are implementing many different plans to protect our sacred sites. Please contact them for this information. Wish you were there to here the facts he presented.

Emotions are running high on this issue because we all love Sedona and want what is best for city, the land and it’s beauty. We just can’t see how shutting down many of the trails we now enjoy, and shuffling an extra million people a year to just a few locations will be any kind of an improvement. It will totally destroy the reason why the positive people have always come here looking for peace and tranquility. The Monument will increase the draw of those running through our main street for two days to see the red rocks, stay in a hotel and eat fast food.

We have traveled to many Monuments and this is what we always see. This is not what Sedona was built on and it is sad to think of this happening. I know the hotels are pushing hard for this, but they are not in any way associated with what made this town special and different. They want to change it into a bustling town like Vail.

Please be strong and recognize the money and bureaucracy behind changing Sedona into just another Monument to quickly see and then run to some other place on the travelers list. This kind of visitor does not bring the kind of money into the town that will support the small stores, restaurants and bed and breakfasts they have historically come here to experience. It’s not Broke so lets not Fix it.

Sedona Cathedral Rock

Sedona Cathedral Rock

People all over the world know about Sedona. The right amount of people will continue to come here to enjoy what they have heard about and they will not destroy what we are all about. Our Chamber has done a good job of getting the right information out to the public.

Let’s make decisions based on what we know is in the bank, so to speak. It is the downfall of every city in history when they start making decisions based on hopes and dreams and conjecture instead of definite facts with a firm financial basis. Sedona has very similar challenges as the Grand Canyon when you are considering changing it to a National Monument. Think of the similarities as you read this article.

Keep in mind that our sacred land is already protected by law. There is so very little uranium in our hills that the miners have never bothered with this area so why would they now when there is so much to tap into in Utah. If miners thought they could tap into a great source here, that would have happened when the copper was being mined in Jerome. The Forest Service now has money and is making improvements without thousands of dollars being taken for salaries of Federal Management teams overseeing what is being done and making changes that are not in alignment with the wishes and needs of the citizens.

Sedona Snowfall exclusive SedonaEye.com photo by Melissa Morrison C2010

Sedona Snowfall exclusive SedonaEye.com photo by Melissa Morrison c2010

The famous line in “Indiana Jones, The Last Crusade” always has stuck in my mind. Do you remember when the one seeking great wealth, drank from the Holy Chalice and he disintegrated? The guardian of the chalice said, “He chose poorly.” Then Indiana Jones, who wanted to retrieve the chalice to protect it, drank from another chalice. The guardian said “He chose wisely.” He did not die because of his inner guidance showing him which to choose.

My Best to you all,

Kathy Masters-Jaeckel
Sedona, AZ 86336
Master-Pro Realty, Broker-Owner and
Sedona Cathedral HIdeaway B&B, Owner
cc: Sedona Chamber Members
D. Joens, Cottonwood Mayor

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Read www.SedonaEye.com for daily news and interactive views!



  1. dean still says:

    I read a comment asking for this and can’t find where that was!!!! Am sorry if this isn’t a good place for the commenter it seems like it is to me a good place to leave it not knowing. Every man, woman, child should watch this. Teachers you should be showing it in school and having discussions and debates. It’s a current topic.


  2. @Kathy

    Great piece, Kathy! I hope your readers here at The Eye will also go to the Arizona Republic link you’ve provided and read that article. It would seem that the second and third paragraphs from the end are aimed directly at KSB and the Sierra Club. And, BTW, this is not the first recent article in The Republic opposed to any new Arizona National Monument designations.


  3. @dean still,

    Dean, Arizona Liberty aka the Verde Valley Conservation Alliance, has for a month and a half been making NM opposition presentations around the Verde Valley. We are scheduled shortly to make presentations at Big Park, OLLI, and the Cottonwood City Council. It’s an extraordinarily professional presentation that is always begun with the old film version of “Frontline with Jessica Savitch” to which you were astute enough to provide the online link. You should see a crowd’s reaction when they see this nightmare movie.Thank you.

  4. We watched that Frontline show, it was good then and now. My daughter at NAU is sharing with her Prescott Yavapai College and Grand Canyon U friends. It needs to get out to people’s contacts list and FB. Thank you to Dean Still for finding it.

  5. Thank you for your comments, Rick. I have been working diligently to inform the residents of what is happening right under our noses with this National Monument. I am amazed at how many people do not know about it or know only a little. It is important that everyone does what is needed to understand what is behind this and then sign the petition opposing the Monument. http://www.arizonaliberty.us/vote_no_svvrrnm.u.html

  6. Darryl Z says:

    Did anyone here attend the OLLI presentation yesterday? How was attendance? How was push-back? Can anyone give a recap? Thanks

    I am sorry I missed it but I had to work.

  7. Bob says:

    It was well organized & everyone had questions addressed in a professional way. Kudos to Olli & Barbara & audience! Nearly everyone indicated they’d be coming to the next Olli presentation on the subject. Maybe 75% were anti monument? Nice presentation.

  8. Darryl Z says:

    Thanks, Bob. I also heard from my neighbor who wasn’t as upbeat about the presentation. He said almost EVERYONE was anti-monument and questions weren’t answered but rather the questions we’d all like to get answered were put off – told they’d have to get back to them due to time constraints. I have 3 jobs, but will do my best to take the time off for the next OLLI presentation.

  9. I did not go to the latest meeting but I have been to most of the others. It is always the same story. Questions are asked and the answers are just basic without really giving people any definite assurances. That is because they cannot do that. All they can say is their recommendations will be as stated. Guess what, the Federal management Team does not care what is recommended. They come in and say this is how it is going to be to make the land easy to protect. Most Monuments have Homeland Security patrolling because the threat level is extremely increased as soon as we achieve Monument Status. Look it up.

  10. To All Readers at The Eye:

    TOTAL DISASTER! This is what could be the fate of the Verde Valley and Sedona once a National Monument Proclamation is issued.

    This is a letter to the editor of The Independent, a St. George, Utah newspaper. It’s about Zion Canyon, and it includes every concern you should have regarding the fate of Sedona if it is designated a National Monument. The NM designation does NOT come with any federal money to cover the increased tourism. Total disaster!


    From The Independent, St. George Utah on April 15 2015:

    An Open Letter to:

    Utah Travel Council, Staff, Board, Utah State Legislature, Utah Governor Gary Herbert and Washington County Commissioners, Washington County Visitors Bureau.

    I live in Springdale, Utah the gateway community to Zion National Park. I have lived and worked here for 15 years. The population of Springdale is about 548 people and neighboring Rockville is 250…including elderly, youth and children. A cordial population that you and 3.6 million visitors take for granted. We are the greeting staff to USA and international travelers.

    The reported triumph on the state media services of the 30% rise in visitation to Zion National Park ignores the Back-Story of what is truly going on here. We have become an ant hill. This is a narrow canyon with a two lane road. There is only one way in and one way out.

    In your meetings have you ever discussed the costs of such impactful visitation numbers beyond the cha-ching of coins in business, county and state coffers? Have you discussed the costs on the backs of local residents, service workers and National Park employees as well as conservation of Zion, a National Treasure?

    Allow me to tell you some of those costs. You might say we are bringing jobs. No, you are bringing tourism and unsustainable consumerism to a fragile ecosystem. The medium income in Washington County, Utah is about $21,000 a year….unlike the larger Park City of Wasatch County which is about $80,000 over all income. The jobs here are minimum wage jobs and the most workers do not live here but in Hurricane or St. George. Yes, this is a business friendly state, but not a worker friendly state. Every time the legislature makes a TRT Room tax hike for the tourists (now over 12%) the bulk of this money is divided through the state to maintain travel council and visitor bureau salaries and business endeavors. Well and good, but not enough shows up in Springdale. Yes, the pressure of extreme tourism to our canyon environment and the infrastructure of small town Springdale is costly. We need funds here for improved infrastructure, NOT more advertising or international promotion or junkets for travel council employees. It seems visitor bureau grants are only given out for advertising an event, not paying anyone.

    It is difficult to walk or even drive across SR 9 when there is a two mile road back-up to the entrance gate to Zion. Again, there is just a one two lane road here. We need stop signs…crosswalks, more sidewalks and bike lanes…but not more parking lots. The RV traffic is perilous because the town, the tunnels, the park cannot accommodate it…though the Park has been expanding their Visitors Center lots…it is not the solution. In March on just one Saturday we had 2400 hundred run the half marathon from Virgin to the Park Entrance (they were running and not driving). The fee to the runners was $95.00. Times $95 by 2600. After permits…Rockville received from the Vacation Races Company, just $1000 as thanks to the local volunteers. Thanks folks, cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching!!!

    Where do the man power and monies come from to support these tourist entertaining events? Not from the promoters or state legislature and travel council, but from the local tax paying land owners, stretched small town coffers, local volunteer residents and local business owners. Who puts on the not-profit Earth-Day, music festivals, Fourth of July & St. Patrick Day Parade or Z-Art events? The goodwill of Rotary & Lions Club fundraisers, the state Humanities Council, local business owners and unpaid volunteers. We now have three franchise hotels in Springdale, La Quinta, Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express…unfortunately; their community involvement ends with the corporate responsibility to their investors.

    This year, due to national politics, the Zion National Park (The Golden Goose) is understaffed and a dollar short because their budget funding comes from the Federal Government and those wheels move slowly. Not to mention the supposed Class 1 air quality the National Park is supposed to strive to maintain; all those added parking lots encourage greater passenger car traffic and the air keeps getting hazier and more polluted with ozone and PM 2.5 from increased off- road vehicle traffic.

    Recently, because of the ad blitzes, the Zion Park employees (guardians of the natural world …some of who are volunteers) are stretched to exhaustion on a daily basis. Those who work on the East side of the park may end up adding one and half hours to their work drive time because of the daily tunnel traffic. It has become Disneyland without the rides and efficient crowd & car control. The National Park does its best with its limited funding. Again, it is a monumental effort just to keep all the visitors on the designated trails. The Narrows Hikes (get a hepatitis shot before you go) and the more dangerous Angels Landing hikes are becoming as busy as Madison Avenue at rush hour.

    Think trash and river sewage, it is our new reality in the canyon!

    Many local citizens and park employees would like to request that you stop your ad blitzes which must cost thousands, if not millions. Please, please direct some of that money toward funding the necessary and oft time deficient PTI shuttle system.

    This system is so necessary, but totally overwhelmed. It is short of buses and drivers. The present drivers have been driving 10 to 11 hours with few breaks and forced to make unsafe maneuvers. Outside town parking was figured out in Telluride Colorado years ago. Perhaps, the town shuttle could be extended to a parking lot west of Rockville to relieve the traffic on SR9 and in Springdale proper.

    What about our Paramedic and Fire Protection services which basically give free assistance to the tourists any day at any time? Up until last year, Rockville/Springdale Fire Protection was volunteer. This year out of desperation and fairness to the volunteers…our Fire Protection tax was doubled to provide for wages and equipment that will meet state codes.

    We are fortunate to have excellent medical staff in our one room trailer clinic. But because the clinic runs on a shoe string (It isn’t profitable enough for a Health Corp. to keep it going.) The medical staff must work part time in Salt Lake and St. George in order to keep the clinic open during tourist season.

    Again, could the legislature pass funding for our town’s antiquated sewer system which backs up in hotel rooms and private residences? How many toilet flushes and showers of 3.6 million tourists can the Virgin River accommodate? Springdale has 3 full time overwhelmed maintenance workers. We need a full time maintenance worker just to put out recycle bins, pick up the daily trash and empty sand cigarette holders at shuttle stops. Not everyone coming to the canyon respects nature, but again resident volunteers pick up trash in our parks and in the river for the very reason they chose to live here….a respect and love of the uncontaminated natural world.

    Do any of you work for free? Our Town Planning Commission and Town Council do. And would you work for free to assist 3.6 million visitors to your home yearly. Would you even work cleaning hotel rooms here? There is always a shortage of housekeeping staff. How about working as a park employee full-time with a part time seasonal status with no health care or retirement benefits. Or perhaps being a restaurant server at $2.50 an hour where your income is chicken today and feathers tomorrow. Remember, there is a fine line between being a business friendly state and exploitation. Maybe it is time to raise the minimum wage in Utah. I hear the legislature is thinking of raising the governor’s salary.

    I moved here in 1998. My property taxes were $700 and now in 2015 my Washington County taxes are up to $1800….and probably climbing. It seems Zion is the goose that lays the golden egg for many. But the geese are leaving from the onslaught which is taking its toll on park wildlife…fewer birds, fewer foxes, fewer everything but more helicopter noise from daily air tours. Can we love Zion too much? Where is the ecological sustainability plan? Yes, unwittingly your promotions are causing us to pave paradise and put in a parking lot….lots of lots.


    Betina Lindsey- Springdale Resident

  11. It never ceases to cause consternation how ignorant people don’t recognize themselves as ignorant. Morons will support this, the rest won’t. I like this letter! Ever sit in a monument line waiting for miles and miles to get in because you HAVE to go through a BOOTH and pay? Listen Sedona the reason we drive to Sedona & Flagstaff is it doesn’t have miles of backed up traffic, why do you think we don’t go the GC? We’ll handle a half hour delay fine. But let me tell you there’s no way I’m sitting on a shuttle or a bus to be ferried through Sedona. But go ahead. You have a reputation of being whiffties.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Thanks to Kathy for writing the letter and to whomever posted Betina Lindsey letter. What an education we are getting in the greater Verde Valley about federal land management! Wake up in the West!

  13. Heard about this letter on Sunday at church in clarkdale. Need to hear more!!

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