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Front Page » July 8, 2003 » Opinion » Public Lands Focus:san Rafael Swell Advisory Group Seeks ...
Published 4,980 days ago

Public Lands Focus:san Rafael Swell Advisory Group Seeks Input

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Professor of Georgraphy, BYU

Those who have an interest in the San Rafael Swell-and we know you're out there-have yet another opportunity to provide input into its future management.

Perhaps you were out of town in 1998 when the Swell was proposed as a heritage and national conservation area. Maybe you had business that prevented you from being involved in 2000 when the NCA concept was revised and unsuccessfully sent back to Congress. And though there was a plethora of public meetings, perhaps you couldn't get down to them in 2002 when Emery County leaders proposed a San Rafael Swell National Monument.

If so, here's another chance.

The BLM field office in Price is currently working on a new resource management plan (RMP) for the San Rafael Swell and surrounding area, and if you are interested then don't miss out on this since it will establish much of the policy for the Swell for the next decade or so.

So how do you get involved?

When the BLM releases draft alternatives in early 2004 (hopefully), then there will be the standard round of public meetings as part of their required scooping efforts-here's where you can have your say.

But you don't need to wait until then.

In an attempt to improve planning efforts the BLM, under the direction of State Director Sally Wisely, created an advisory group specifically for the San Rafael Swell.

The advisory group, which I am on, wants to reach out to the public as much as possible to inform you of the ongoing planning process and progress and get feedback from the public.

Now, there are plenty of you out there who, like myself, have attended numerous meetings on the San Rafael Swell during the past few years. You may have even spoken at these meetings or sent in written comments. If so, try and stay involved at least one more time. This RMP is important to you-in my mind even more important than any of the previous proposals.

During the oft-contentious struggle over special designations for the San Rafael Swell the really important matter wasn't what the place would be called-but rather how specific activities and areas would be managed.

Never mind if it was a national conservation area, national monument, or even a Swasey horse jumping heritage area-the real crux of the issue was always what form any subsequent management plan would take.

Well, so far none of the proposed special designations have become a reality, but the management planning process is, never-the-less, in full bloom, and we can expect to see the BLM release draft alternatives sometime early next year.

In the meantime the advisory group is working with the BLM as they craft these alternatives.

For the first few months of its existence the advisory group has been relatively anonymous-a condition we want to end. In order for the advisory group to be more effective in their efforts they are going to try and reach out to you and invite you to reach out to them.

In the future members of the advisory group would like to come to any city meetings, club gatherings, barbeques, or any other events we can get invited to, to share information about the group's efforts and to get feed-back from the public.

In addition, any ideas, suggestions, or concerns you have can be sent to me, and I will forward them on to the entire group. Or if you want I will help you get in touch with other members of the group. In addition to myself the advisory group consists of:

Ber Knight, a member of the Statewide Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) and an OHV enthusiast from Moab.

Jim Catlin, also on the statewide RAC, who works for the Wild Utah Project in Salt Lake City.

Leigh von der Esch, also on the statewide RAC, who lives in Sal Lake City and represents the State Film Commission.

William "Bill" Coon, also on the statewide RAC, a backcountry horse enthusiast from Herriman.

Dennis Worwood, Utah State Extension Agent, Emery County Public Lands Commission Chairman, and renowned pig farmer from Ferron.

Linda Whitham, who works with the Nature Conservancy in their Moab office.

Neil Peacock, Mayor of Castle Dale.

Glen Johnson, Mayor of Green River.

Gary Kofford, Emery County Commissioner from Castle Dale.

Tracy Jeffs, longtime Castle Dale resident who served several years as Chariman of the Emery County Public Lands Council.

Michael Jenkins, an attorney with PacifiCorp.

In addition three individuals are working closely with the group as coordinators: Don Banks, from the BLM State office; Drew Sitterud, Emery County Commissioner; and Pat Gubbins, BLM Price Field Manager.

Contact information:



Provo, Utah 84602

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