It’s one of my favorite times on the calendar. A number of years ago, some very forward-
thinking community members and organizations decided to bring basketball, wrestling and other
tournaments to the Sevier Valley Center every winter. I don’t think anyone realized how very
important those decisions would be. Each game or match is a “shot in the arm” for the
community financially, and benefits not just Richfield businesses but the whole county and
beyond. This year, in particular, the tournaments also serve as an inoculation for our mental and
emotional well-being. So much has been canceled or rescheduled the past 11 months, and I think
we’re all a little desperate for normalcy. It’s great for the young people who compete, it
encourages them to improve individually and as teams, and it’s a ray of hope for all of us who
cheer them on.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that our part of the state (and country) is still very dry. I encourage
everyone to use water wisely and conserve as much as we possibly can. For those who are so
inclined, please petition a higher power to bless us with our water needs. If you feel you have no
standing with a higher power, may I suggest that you get on your knees and stay there until you
do. We need everybody’s help with this. We’re truly all in this together, and we must not take
for granted having ample clean water to use when and how we desire.
Water is critical for our survival. I’ve always been interested in the town of Widtsoe, located
northeast of Bryce Canyon in John’s Valley. It now nearly a ghost town, but at one time it was
an active, thriving community with motels, churches, and government offices. There were even
serious discussions at one point to change the Garfield County seat from Panguitch to Widtsoe.
The town grew up during a prolonged period of above-normal precipitation, which enabled dryland farming to be productive. But when things dried up during leaner years, many folks lost
major investments. Today, it’s still a beautiful area and lovely scenic drive, but the community
is no more.
Luckily, we’re not as dependent on farming as those in Widtsoe were, but agriculture has been
an important stimulator to our local economy ever since the Pioneers arrived here in 1864.
Water was a critical element then, and its continuing importance cannot be overstated. We
underestimate its value at our own peril. In Richfield, we’re blessed with some wonderful deep-
wells that are fed by an abundant, healthy aquifer. We’re fortunate to also have an amazing
natural spring that provides year-round, life-giving water now, as it did hundreds of years ago to
the native inhabitants of this valley. Please, please, please never become complacent about our
water. Do your part to protect it.
Mayor David Ogden