The Vigil Continues

hard hat

A mass action camp here at PR Springs just ended last week, culminating in an ongoing week-long work shut-down for US Oil Sands. The energy of the 70+ participants from around the region amplified the resolve of our permanent presence to halt tar sands mine construction and foster new relationships with allies we can call upon in the future. While some friends have gone back to their various homes, we as a group feel more committed to defending this place than ever — and we aren’t going anywhere.

We’re also enjoying getting to know a new corner of this vast and beautiful land, a high spot near the edge of the sweeping green canyons of the Book Cliffs. Forested canyons plunge down into larger canyons that meet up with bigger canyons still, forming the behemoths that lead down to the plains some thousands of feet below. Groves of scrub oak give us shelter from the wind, and blood-red sunsets over the high desert mark the end of our days, leading into new moon nights of pure darkness scattered with flashes of far-off lightning storms. To the north, we can see the long-abandoned tar sands mine where we’ve observed a black bear scavenging
for food in the tar seeps, and beyond it, the rubble of U.S. Oil Sands’ tar sands test pit. Being here affirms for us that we are not just here to protect our beloved PR Springs canyon, where we so often stay, but the vast and diverse habitats that stretch through the entirety of this land.

Sitting above the sprawling web of canyons that seem to bear up the plateau on the spines of their strong backs reminds me that each one is slightly or sometimes dramatically different, filled with different species and relationships between them, different patterns in how plants, animals, and fungi move through the world and down the canyon slopes. Some are sandy desert gardens, where bright green oaks and wildflowers pop out of sandstone outcrops; others are thickets of Douglas fir, Ponderosa, & Piñon. Every day I feel blessed to be here, and I have no interest in
going back to town. The plateau needs us, and we will do our best to fulfill the commitment we have made to this land, which has already given us so much.

If you want to get to know this amazing land and take part in the vigil, email

1 thought on “The Vigil Continues

  1. Pingback: Direct Action Against Utah Tar Sands | Southwest Earth First!

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