Elder Steven E. Snow was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy in April 2001. In Oct 2007 he was called to Presidency of the Seventy. Prior to his service in the Seventy, Elder Snow was quite active in conservation efforts in his home of Southern Utah. There are two published accounts of his I would like to highlight. The first is from an article he wrote entitled, "Skipping the Grand Canyon," included in the book "New Genesis: A Mormon Reader on Land and Community." The second is a statement read to the House of Representatives during a Joint Oversight Field Hearing when Elder Snow was a Board Member of the Grand Canyon Trust. The hearing involved the issue of air tour flights conducted over national parks.
"Our generation, more than any other, has the ability to irretrievably change the land. Financial rewards provide tremendous pressure to unleash our technology to reinvent our surroundings. There will be growth; change will come. But failure to care for the land on which we live means turning our backs on a heritage laid down carefully and at such great cost by our forefathers - and will leave us immeasurably poorer."
Steven E. Snow, "Skipping the Grand Canyon," New Genesis: A Mormon Reader on Land and Community (ed. Terry Tempest Williams, William B. Smart, Gibbs M. Smith eds. 1998, 244).
Highlights from the STATEMENT OF STEVEN E. SNOW, BOARD MEMBER, GRAND CANYON TRUST
Our organization is dedicated to conservation of the natural and cultural resources of the Colorado Plateau. We have been involved in this issue of natural quiet in the parks for about a decade now with special emphasis on the two dozen parks on the Colorado Plateau. We hope that the visitor experience is not threatened as a result of the growing number of commercial air tours over our national parks. Now, natural quiet, of course, means many different things to many different people, and clearly there is no one definition which suits everyone, but what is clear is that regardless of how the term is defined, there is little dispute among visitors to our national parks, who seek solitude and escape from an increasingly urbanized society, that natural quiet is one of the defining elements of the visit to the national park, and we believe that has been borne out as a result of surveys which have been conducted in the past.
We believe that the Park Service is the one charged to protect the resources of our national treasures like Grand Canyon and the Great Smokies, Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, Zion and Yosemite, and many, many others. Aircraft management plans developed by the Park Service could prevent the development of conflicts between natural quiet needs and aircraft overflights. For example, as part of the development of the management plan at Zion National Park, park managers in cooperation with tour operators have developed voluntary measures to minimize air tour impacts on the park. However, these measures are just voluntary, and without legislation, such as S. 268, the Park Service does not have the authority to require compliance. We think the situation in Bryce Canyon is plagued by fixed wing and helicopter overflights that impair both natural quiet and visual resource because they fly below the elevation of the park overlooks. Other parks on the Colorado Plateau, such as Arches and Canyonlands, are also experiencing these overflight issues.
Grand Canyon, I think, has been referred to a great deal today. It is an example of what can happen. By the time Congress passed the Natural Parks Overflight Act in 1987, there were 40,000 air tour operations per year in the canyon, and natural quiet had already become a scarce resource, and the air industry was firmly entrenched and growing. Ten years later we still have not restored natural quiet, and the number of air tour operations in the park has now more than doubled. We think the caps on flight operations is one reason why these past rules have failed. We think that it is a good direction to protect the natural quiet resource in our parks.
(House of Representatives JOINT OVERSIGHT FIELD HEARING ON NATIONAL PARK OVERFLIGHTS as part of the ONE HUNDRED FIFTH CONGRESS on NOVEMBER 17, 1997 at ST. GEORGE, UTAH)