Local Profile // Editor Leslie Miller on "Reimagining a Place for the Wild"
Leslie Miller's relocation to Park City happened accidentally and long ago. She'd heard tales from friends of deep, powder skiing with snorkels. In 1973, Leslie, her college sweetheart and her dog were turned away from living in Little Cottonwood Canyon due to it being a watershed and directed up to an unknown place called Park City.
“Driving up Parleys Canyon that afternoon we knew, as soon as we hit the bottom of Main with the crooked old buildings and shimmering gold leaves of Aspens on the mountainside, that this would be home.”
Leslie's activism accomplishments are endless and on-going. She worked for the Park Record, was a contributing writer for Park City Magazine, and published the Wasatch Mountain Times. In 1991 she was elected to the Park City Council as an open space advocate.
“Around this time, we also realized public art was a necessary component to our community's sense of place. Claudia Ward and I co-founded the Park City Arts Council to create a 501-C non-profit with a new board. Then I wrote a grant with the help of David Chambers to fund a hire for our first part-time director, Joanna Charnes. One of several successful program outcomes initiated by the Arts Council are the Park City Film Series and public art exhibits in the Park City Library.”
As a 12 year member on the University of Utah College of Humanities Partnership Board, Leslie collaborated with College staff, faculty and a volunteer committee of Reimaginites in organizing a Symposium in the distant wilds of Montana.
Acclaimed authors, columnist, and 26 panelists from diverse backgrounds including local ranchers, conservationists, philosophers and University of Utah scholars and graduate students from the Environmental Humanities program spoke.
“Most importantly, I invited each Symposium participant to write an essay about encountering the wild. We planned to compile them into a white paper report, but after reading the beautiful essays, we decided they were worthy of publication and submitted the collection to the University of Utah Press for peer review. A selection of the Symposium essays, which I edited with Louise Excell and Christopher Smart, comprise our newly released anthology, Reimagining a Place for the Wild.
Miller reminds us, “The legendary photographer and activist Subhankar Banerjee once said, ‘When human survival is continuously being threatened by varieties of anthropogenic injuries (ecological, economic, social) our capacity to think about the nonhuman animal become very limited indeed. Nevertheless, it is our ethical obligation to also consider their survival as well.’ ‘‘
Miller added, “I hope the empathy, science and insights expressed in Reimagining A Place for the Wild will reawaken our souls and inspire a commitment to ensuring a western culture enriched by the wonder and importance of wild life.”
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