Utah is a geographically vast state with diverse challenges.
The mayors of four rural Utah towns reminded us of that during a recent luncheon hosted by KSL managers to learn more about issues in outlying communities.
With the overwhelming majority of Utahns living along the Wasatch Front, it is easy to let problems in the state's most populated areas overshadow the challenges faced in rural Utah.
The loss of ten jobs in Salt Lake County, for example, would hardly be noticed. Eliminate those jobs in a smaller town, though, and it would signal an economic crisis. In a large city, construction of a new community center would merely be another place for kids to play and many would share the cost. But in a rural town, such a facility would likely be the only legitimate recreation spot for miles around, while funding it becomes an enormous commitment for every local citizen.
Indeed, unique challenges present themselves when the nearest hospital, supermarket or college is 60 miles away; when water is scarce and influential, heavily populated areas clamor for more; when big-city problems like crime and drugs migrate their way.
KSL thanks the mayors of Green River, Price, Heber City and Park City for sharing their concerns and reminding us that the voice of rural Utah, though sometimes muted, needs to be heard and understood.