Oral Histories

Bill Meador

b.1933

Bill Meador

Q: Did you interact at all with neighboring communities, Monticello, Green River, and Blanding?

A: Basically the interaction during the uranium time, outside of the school athletic programs and the families that had relatives in both Monticello and Blanding (like Lyn had) I don’t know that there was any “Let’s share the cost of a community welfare program” or a bridge or things of that nature. There wasn’t that kind of interaction. Monticello and Blanding were going through some of their own growth changes and struggling to beat heck with those. I personally was not involved with anything to the uranium boom and community interactions.

Q: What about the impact the government agencies, the parks, BLM, Forest Service started making on the area as it became developed?

A: I don’t remember associating any of those agencies necessarily with the uranium boom. The BLM was an outgrowth of the Taylor Grazing Act and it became much more important in the lives of friends of mine, like Mr. Taylor who owned cattle and the families that I knew that interacted. The leasing agreements of course, the miners had concerns about the ability to get to properties or to lease properties whatever the case may be. All of the agencies grew rapidly, but so did all the agencies in Washington D.C. so I don’t know. Maybe it was simply the middle fifties and the ten years following World War II that things just mushroomed in all respects to government control, government interests, you have to have five forms to do whatever. I don’t know that the uranium industry per se impacted that near as much as just the sociology and change in the United States government.

Q: Do you feel that the BLM leaned in favor of the money and the miners, the potential there, versus the previous users, the grazers, and the stockmen?

A: I think the BLM and the Forest Service, the agencies, per se, have always swung with those who make the greatest amount of noise. Regardless of whether it’s the cattlemen or the bikers or whomever, that’s human nature. The agency is saying, “If there are more bikers using this piece of ground than cattlemen, we’ve got to look at the majority.” Democracy is supposed to be based on majority so I think more than saying at this time if miners swayed the BLM, they probably did because that was what was taking place in big numbers and important numbers. Later that would change. I think we are in the last days of open range for cattlemen. At some point we are not going to have permits issued to use the range. I think that is just going to be a lost cause. Economically it’s not the best thing in the world now. I think the agencies catered to a degree and examined policies on who was making the big noise; who was in power at the time and what was going on. I’m not sure it was ever a conscious thing to swing one way or another.

Q: What do you consider the best and the worst things about living in Moab both then and now?

A: I’ve always enjoyed the ability to get in my pickup and be out in the boondocks in fifteen minutes and have a picnic with my family. In Kansas you can’t do that. You’re on somebody else’s wheat farm. I’ve enjoyed the isolationism and the lack of hectic turmoil. I spend three days in Las Vegas and I’m worn out from noise and people and traffic. I live right in the world where I want to live. I think that is the best part, although I hate to use the term, it’s what I mean by lifestyle. I’ve enjoyed being comfortable with my surroundings and enjoying being out there. I think there are some restrictions. I see the kinds of programs that are available to my four-year-old grandson in Vegas. He could choose from a variety of athletic coaching that is good coaching. He could choose all kinds of musical instruction, after-school musical programs and reading programs, all those things that are not available here. He has an extension that is almost unlimited which I see as a drawback to kids living here. You can always overcome those. I’ve never felt short-changed for that. I saw a little girl play the piano in Las Vegas the other day and she had a professional piano teacher at her beck and call. Those kinds of things are the drawbacks to kids in Moab, the extension kind of activities that are not available to our students or our young people starting to make choices and growing up.

Another best thing is I knew where my kids were. I’m concerned for my son in Vegas. He’s going to have a full-time job knowing where his kids are in that multitude of activities of people and events. My kids were tied to a school, to a section of the community, to someplace I could get to in five minutes if I needed to be. That’s an advantage of living here for me. I look at most of the advantages being tied to raising my children. Now, of course, my annual green fees are only just about three times as much as I paid to play for one day in Vegas. That’s a real benefit.

Q: I thank you for your time.

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