Welcome to In Site, a podcast from the Zion Canyon Mesa, a nascent arts and humanities residency center in Springdale, Utah, surrounded by Zion National Park.One of the primary drivers for these podcasts is concern for our times. To paraphrase Yeats, the center feels besieged. So we’ll consider the many crux issues we face, with an eye towards how creative thinking can play a role. We will engage a wide spectrum of artists, writers, musicians, and thought leaders, and hopefully enjoy the journey.As our name implies, we also want to root firmly within our community, our home in southwest Utah on the Markagunt Plateau. We will give backstory and context for controversial, regional issues here in Utah. We’ll also try to act as an honest broker for dialogue, seemingly a lost art. But our concept of home also radiates out from here to the Colorado Plateau, the Intermountain West, the U.S. in general and on from there. Our name sounds out four different ways, and we identify with each: to get it in sight, to gain insight, and perhaps to incite.There is an additional aspect embedded in the idea of In Site that we will continue to explore: the intersection of vision and place. Very often an artist’s inspiration entwines with or emerges from their chosen landscape. At times they are simply one in the same. We believe creativity is crucial to imagining the future we want to see, especially in these uncertain times, and for us to nurture this creativity, perhaps we should examine and embrace this relationship more deeply. http://zioncanyonmesa.org/podcast
Richard Grant Interview - The Deepest South of All: True Stories from Natchez, Mississippi
Here we explore the ongoing repercussions of slavery, observed through the microcosm of Natchez, Mississippi, with Richard’s Grant, in his fifth book “The Deepest South of All.” Moving from England to Mississippi, Richard brings this distinct perspective and keen, compassionate eye to try to understand the “sleight of mind” that America still maintains about our greatest original sin. In Natchez, he found a town that both studiously maintains its Confederate “Gone with the Wind” mythology but also elected a gay black man for mayor with 91% of the vote. In its time, it was the site of both the second largest slave market in the U.S. and the most millionaires per capita; of course those two are directly related. Richard never intended to be a writer; we talk at first about his path from England to becoming a New York Times best-selling author. Then we address the multi-layered, deeply human complexities that enable both slavery and collective forgetfulness, and its ramifications for today. In this moment of Black Lives Matter and an America in perhaps our most disturbing identity crises since the Civil War, Richard’s insights couldn’t be more timely. Please see the Show Notes for links to Richard and his works, and feel free to comment.
Is The Water Wet? - Lake Powell Pipeline Part 2 with Eric Kuhn
Eric digs into how politicians ignored drought data to create the 1922 Colorado River Compact, and how that intentional myopia continued for almost a century. Today, the entire basin must finally reckon with what has been true all along; that the allocated water just is not there. He busts two foundational myths along the way, one about the science and data, and the other about water use. He then situates the Lake Powell Pipeline (LPP) into the present moment of truth, setting the stage for our next, perhaps final podcast about the LPP itself. We say “perhaps,” because if this story continues to unfold as dynamically as in the last couple weeks, we will need another podcast later to keep up. To wit: ALL the other basin states just signed a letter threatening court action unless Utah commits to resolving key LLP issues through the Compact itself, per the agreement. Utah responded by asking the Bureau of Reclamation to extend the deadline for their environmental study, giving everyone more time and breathing room. This steps the LLP back from President Trump’s “Fast Track,” which he has conferred on about sixty other projects nationwide, including Washington County’s Northern Corridor Highway. Stay tuned… Eric Kuhn is the co-author of Science be Dammed: How Ignoring Inconvenient Science Drained the Colorado River. He was General Manager of the Colorado River Conservation District (CRCD) for twenty-two years. The CRDC is a government entity formed in 1937 which oversees Colorado River basin issues for the state. He is also author of any number of papers about Colorado River water use and law, including an excellent piece linked in our Show Notes about the crux, upcoming 2026 Compact summit.
Barry Lopez Interview "What Do I Mean By My Life?"
Writer Barry Lopez gives a retrospective, wide-ranging discourse on, among other things, nature writing as a metaphor for illuminating complex issues, advice for young writers, the role of the storyteller and the many facets of education and service. He reflects on his (and our) inexhaustible relationship with landscape to finally ask: “what do you think?”
"Is The Water Wet?" Lake Powell Pipeline Part 1 with Greg Smoak
This episode is Part One of a three-part series on the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline. Historian Greg Smoak joins us to discuss water law in the west, John Wesley Powell, and provide an overall historical context for the pipeline. Greg Smoak is a Professor of History at the University of Utah and the director of the American West Center. He’s the author of many articles and essays on various American west topics including water rights, Native American law, environmental policy, and American Indian policy among other things. He’s the author of the book Ghost Dances and Identity: Prophetic Religion and American Indian Ethnogenesis in the Nineteenth Century."
Customer ReviewsSee All
The significance of Place
So many people and their work are affected and shaped by their sense of place—or attachment to a certain place—whether it’s their hometown, new town, or wherever they happen to be. It’s nice to find a podcast where this seems to be the underlying theme. As someone pretty committed to the American Southwest but troubled by its handling and future, I’m excited to keep listening.
Fascinating and informative
Great look at the intersection of water use and cultural values in the West. I’ve lived in Utah for nearly 50 years, and yet much of this is information is new to me. If you liked Cadillac Desert, you’ll love this. I’m excited to see what In Site does next.
Squeaky tea kettle
Thorough, descriptive analysis of issues rooted in the American West—such a well-researched and informed interview.
Came for water history, stayed for the squeaky tea kettle. Looking forward to hearing from your next guests!