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Front Page » June 28, 2005 » Local News » Public lands plans project at old swinging bridge
Published 4,262 days ago

Public lands plans project at old swinging bridge

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The deterioration of the Swinging Bridge is slated for repair.

In the recent public lands council meeting, Ray Petersen announced that a group called Friends of the San Rafael, has filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management concerning the closure of roads in the San Rafael. The action has been taken against the closure of roads with the BLMs 2003 route designation plan.

Petersen also announced that very soon a suit will be filed by the State of Utah, against the BLM, on behalf of Emery County over the closure of seven roads. Petersen ascertained that the seven roads that will be named in the county suit were also named in the recently filed case.

Petersen also stated that the Manti-LaSal district of the forest service has begun work on a road and trail analysis for the Ferron Canyon road system. During the previous year, the forest service undertook the same analysis on the Muddy Creek. With the completion of that analysis, the work has moved north to Ferron Canyon. The forest service is requesting input from residents who are familiar with the Ferron drainage to come into the office, look at the maps and inform them of any additions to the road list.

Concerning the wild and scenic river discussions, Petersen stated that at a recent meeting with the BLM, the announcement was made to recommend two portions of the Green River as wild and scenic. The first is Desolation Canyon and the other is Labyrinth Canyon. The decision was also made to not recommend the San Rafael River.

The Price field office has recommended the elimination of the Sid's Mountain area from the area of critical environmental concern. The ACECs surrounding Mexican Mountain and the San Rafael Canyon have also been recommended to be downsized from their present proportions. Maps with these recommendations incorporated in them are in the printing process now and should be available soon.

"The BLM has been working very hard on this project. They have been good to work with and receptive to the concerns of Emery County," said Commissioner Gary Kofford.

Gary Petty said that he has met with the SUFCO mine managers concerning the Quitchumpah Road. Following some discussion about plans to trail cattle through the area, the decision was made to allow a cattle trail along the side of the road. He also noted that the water problems with SUFCO continue in discussions. He added that SUFCO has been very accommodating and is hauling water to the troughs for the cattle.

Clyde Magnuson requested information concerning the responsible party for signage onto Horn Mountain from the Rock Canyon trail. It is his understanding that the trail was to be closed during the times of trailing cattle up and down the trail. The cattle went up last week and ATVs were also using the trail as no signs have been posted. The council informed Magnuson that the forest service is responsible for the signage.

As there is no formal public lands project this year, Petersen suggested that the council help the Emery County Preservation Committee with its project at the Swinging Bridge. At the present time, bids are out for lumber and materials, and the preservation committee is in need of volunteer labor to complete the work.

Tory Killian reported that the staging area at the Hole Trail has been completed. Following completion of the staging area, the group moved to Ferron Canyon where finishing work was done on the new bridge site. A variety of user groups participated in the volunteer project.

Sherrel Ward stated that the water situation for the area is very promising this year. "It has been an excellent water year," said Ward. "It has been more than a normal year, it is just tremendous." He said that Joe's Valley is spilling, Electric Lake is up 18 inches and is expected to fill to 70 percent of capacity, Cleveland Reservoir is at 78 percent capacity, Miller's Flat is 96 percent, and Millsite continues to spill.

Floyd Johnson stated that the Cleveland Lloyd dinosaur quarry would be closed beginning Aug. 1 for the visitor center construction. Myron Jeffs added during the BLM report that three projects are underway. At Crack Canyon, installation of a kiosk, a parking area, and dispersed camping areas has begun. A parking area, a kiosk, and dispersed camping project is also underway at Wild Horse Canyon. At Chute Canyon, the parking area, kiosks, proposed trail heads, and barriers project is moving forward.

Chris Colt of the Division of Wildlife Resources, announced that Jim Karpowitz has been named to be the new director of the DWR. He informed the council that Karpowitz plans to continue with Kevin Conway's agenda concerning habitat. Conway's motto was "Habitat is where it's at." The long-range goal is to do work on 100,000 acres per year. "There are many hurdles, but that is what we are working toward," said Colt.

Colt introduced Dave Cook to the council. Cook represents the Utah Partners for Conservation and Development. He was hired specifically to oversee this facet of the DWR. His job will be to travel around the state, meet with the public, and gather their input. "Our partners in the endeavor are the USDA, the forest service, conservation districts, extension services, RC&Ds, fish and wildlife service, SITLA, landowners, and county and local governments. We plan make decisions concerning environmental issues in each region around the state. Our next meeting will be July 14 at 6:30 p.m. at the Carbon County Fairgrounds. We welcome everyone who would like to attend," said Cook.

SITLA representative, Brian Torgerson said that the recent land sale, held on May 27, was a success. Although no land was sold in Emery County, SITLA raised $10 million. SITLA is also in negotiation with the DWR concerning a possible land swap in Range Creek. The proposal is to trade land in Gordon Creek for land in Range Creek.

A portion of SITLA fund each year comes from money raised from ATV registrations in Utah. These funds are to be used for improvements of conditions for ATVs. An easement purchase was recently completed in San Juan County, which is dedicated to ATV access.

The next public lands council meeting will be July 12 at 10 a.m.

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