Grand County resident, Ivan Lasater anticipates the 2 week Spring break celebration in Moab, Utah!
Every spring for two weeks straight, the tiny town of Moab, Utah and its outlying areas experience a flood of sorts. Ivan Lasater’s adopted hometown has a population of under 6000 people, most of the year. It’s a simple town with a Main Street dissecting it, running north to south and winding like a river bed through gorgeous red rock bluffs and rolling slick-rock hills. Moab is the agricultural hub of Grand County, Utah. It is also the County Seat. From where Ivan lives, on Huntridge Drive, he can see an oasis of fertile valley determinedly rooting itself in the mineral rich red earth and thriving towards a bountiful harvest. It’s the unrivaled beauty of the area, along with the plethora of recreational activities available, which turn this town into an internationally recognized tourist destination and a Spring Break mecca.
The population swell during the spring presents its own set of challenges for Ivan and the other locals here who have to work, shop, eat, drive and recreate themselves amid the sometimes suffocating presence of so many strangers. “It can be quite overwhelming at times”. Ivan relates, “But the boost to our local economy during the vacation season helps attract new business to the area and inspires the local population to challenge themselves. They have the opportunity to allow their creativity and innovation to pay off.”
Along with spring breakers, off-road and out-door enthusiasts, river rafters, and sky divers from around the world, Moab also attracts artists. There are a variety of art galleries and festivals where local artists display their crafts before an international audience. This is part of what Ivan is talking about when he says the people of the community have the opportunity to allow their creativity to pay off.
Lodging, RV space, and camping are in abundance in Moab year round. However, it can be difficult during Spring Break and Moab Jeep Safari (both in spring) to find desired accommodations if not booked in advance. Locals like Ivan will sometimes rent rooms or even couch space during these periods to take advantage of the tourist traffic and also to show the down home hospitality that natives of Southern Utah are known for. It’s not uncommon to be invited home for dinner and meet the local pop in their own charming homes and ranches that dot the valley throughout. For Ivan Lasater, tourism is an opportunity and not a thorn in his side.
“I have a friend who runs a Colorado River touring company.” Ivan says “Another who hand builds custom mountain bikes and a few who are local artists. They make a great deal of money this time of year when tourism is at its peak. They also network with other large tourist destinations in the region and refer travelers and tourists to each other. Not only is this good business but it helps to maintain a standard within the network that insures quality consistency and competitive pricing.”
Spring Break can be a tough hill to tackle for law enforcement in the area. Underage drinking, alcohol related injuries, alcohol related fatalities, DUI’s and Traffic congestion are always an issue for local law enforcement and it’s not uncommon for law enforcement agencies from around the state to dispatch contingents of officers to help enforce the law and show their presence throughout the festivities. The police presence doesn’t seem to bother Ivan or the majority of Moab residents during this period, they seem to be grateful for the extra availability of emergency responders.
For Ivan Lasater and so many other Moab residents, Spring Break is an opportunity. All great opportunities come with their own unique set of challenges. The people of Moab have learned to embrace them as much as they embrace the tourists that flock here year after year, regardless of how uncertain the outcome may be. One thing is for certain however. Moab is the place to be for Spring Break.