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Title Is Utah Sahara Bound?
Subject Agriculture--Utah; Land use--Utah
Description The 11th Annual Frederick William Reynolds Lecture.
Creator Cottam, Walter Pace, 1894-
Publisher Extension Division, University of Utah
Date 1947-02-19
Date Digital 2008-05-29
Type Text
Format image/jpeg
Digitization Specifications Original scanned on Epson Expression 10000XL flatbed scanner and saved as 400 ppi uncompressed tiff. Display images generated in PhotoshopCS and uploaded into CONTENTdm Aquisition Station.
Resource Identifier,458
Source LD5526 .U8 n.s. v.37 no.11
Language eng
Relation Digital reproduction of "Is Utah Sahara Bound?," J. Willard Marriott Library Special Collections
Rights Digital Image Copyright University of Utah
Metadata Cataloger Seungkeol Choe; Ken Rockwell
ARK ark:/87278/s6w66hr0
Setname uu_fwrl
Date Created 2008-07-29
Date Modified 2009-03-13
ID 319731
Reference URL

Page Metadata

Title Page 10
Description 10 IS UTAH SAHARA BOUND? and in places a pure grass type similar to that of the plains. Time permits a consideration of but a few of these early descriptions. Father Escalante14 was the first white man to give written impressions of the eastern limits of the Great Basin. As he approached Utah Valley through Spanish Fork Canyon in September, 1776, he saw clouds of smoke arising and of this incident says, "We found grass of the plains where we came recently burned over and others burning, from which we inferred that these Indians had thought us to be Comanches, or other enemies, and as they had probably seen that we were bringing animals, it had been their intention to destroy pasturage along our way, so that because of the lack of this we would be obliged to leave the valley sooner." Escalante also mentions the "marshy places along the shores" of Utah Lake. Two important conclusions from Escalante's descriptions seem justified: first, only the uplands and not the marshy bottoms could likely have burned in September at Utah Lake, and second, grass sufficient to cause a prairie fire must have been fairly abundant. In September, 1843, Colonel John C. Fremont11 made this notation of Bear River Valley in northeastern Utah: "The soil appears generally good, although with the grasses many of the plants are dried up, probably on account of the great heat and want of rain." It appears obvious that he was describing upland vegetation such as Escalante described for Utah Valley. A common impression of this generation is that the Mormon pioneers settled in a sagebrush valley. Our floats commemorating Pioneer Days are frequently decorated with sagebrush to give a pioneer atmosphere. Even Bancroft3 the historian considered Salt Lake Valley to be dominated by sagebrush for he says in describing the entrance of the pioneers, "Their first impressions of the valley, Lorenzo Young says, were most disheartening. But for two or three cottonwood trees, not a green thing was in sight. And yet Brigham speaks almost pathetically of the destruction of the willows and wild roses growing thickly on the two branches of City Creek, destroyed because the channels must be changed, and leaving nothing to vary the scenery but rugged mountains, the sagebrush and the sunflower." The idea, however, of a sagebrush valley is certainly at variance with most of the pioneer documents. The explorer Edwin Bryant5 who entered Salt Lake Valley by way of Weber Canyon July 30, 1846, almost a year before the advent of the Mormon pioneers, describes the grassy slopes along Davis County to Becks Hot Springs and says, "From these springs we crossed a level plain on which we encamped at 11 o'clock A.M. near a small stream of cold water flowing from the mountains which is skirted with a few poplars and small willows. The grass immediately around our camp is fresh and green, but a short distance from us it is brown, dry and crisp." He is describing City Creek at the original pioneer settlement, and despite the fact that he repeatedly mentions sagebrush along the way from Fort Bridger he fails to mention it here. Two days before Brigham Young entered Salt Lake Valley he received a letter signed by three of his scouts, Orson Pratt, Willard Richards and George A. Smith, who had explored the valley where
Format image/jpeg
Identifier 010-RNLT-CottamWP_Page 10.jpg
Source Original Manuscript: Is Utah Sahara Bound? by Walter P. Cottam.
Setname uu_fwrl
Date Created 2008-07-29
Date Modified 2008-07-29
ID 319699
Reference URL