||VEGETATION, SOIL AND WATER 21 Water and Vegetation The answer to this vital question can never be found in a financial statement of dollar receipts. Rather, the answer must be sought in a careful analysis of resource values that are in the main unmeas-urable. The mountains of Utah which a hundred years ago definitely predetermined the location of our cities and towns are no less a factor today in the perpetuity of these cities. The controlling factor was, is and forever must be WATER. It is the liquid gold of the desert. Without it what could the Midas wealth of our mines avail us or the rich arable lands of our valleys profit us? To some, these questions may even seem facetious, for though water like air is admittedly necessary to sustain life, it is here by the gracious gift of Nature and so long as the rains fall all must be well. A hundred years of struggle against nature in Utah suggests ultimate defeat for man unless more brains as well as brawn are used in the battle. For we have seen many of our springs shrink in volume and some of them fail entirely to discharge their precious liquid. We have witnessed the denudation of our mountain slopes through fire, poisonous gases and unregulated grazing and then like whimpering children have bewailed the cruel devastating floods that have followed these abuses. We have seen our sparkling mountain streams run red with silt and become sterile of aquatic life. These and many other tribulations we have endured without serious inquiry into causation. It seems incredible that a full half century of intermittent but devastating floods has not taught an intelligent people the obvious relationships between vegetation, soil, and water. The two decades of the 1880's and 1890's saw a tremendous upsurge in sheep population in Utah. (Fig. No. 3) The mountain ranges of the Wasatch, the Uintas and the high plateaus of the Sevier River drainage were mined of their forage cover. From the populated valleys far in the distance the numerous herds of sheep could be detected by clouds of dust created by many hoofs. It is little wonder then that the early nineteen hundreds saw the beginning pay-off for this extravagant exploitation of the vegetational resource. Floods descended on the helpless towns of Sanpete County with the fury of a ravaged and defiled Nature.23 Some of the hapless communities were on the verge of abandonment when, in 1903, the Manti National Forest was created and the National Government began to take steps to protect these people from themselves. Grazing was prohibited from the entire Manti Creek watershed for the years 1905 to 1909, and plans of grazing management have been in operation ever since. But Nature's wounds heal slowly. The disastrous flood of July, 1946, that inflicted $106,000 of damage to the town of Mt. Pleasant is a sorrowful reminder of those days of unbridled exploitation. Truly the fathers' sins against the land are visited upon their children for generations to come, especially when the children continue in the same transgressions.