Public lands issues
Floyd Johnson, of the United States Bureau of Land Management announced the Price Field Office now has a new, permanent supervisor. His name is Roger Bankert and he is from Pinedale, Wyo. and brings his petro-engineering degree to his position. There have also been many changes in upper management at the national and state levels.
Bryan Torgersen of the School and Institutional Trust Lands Association informed the council of changes to the upcoming land sale scheduled by SITLA. The main parcel of land within Emery County that was to be sold, has been pulled from the sale to allow Emery County more time to perfect their easement. The Ruby Ranch property will remain in the sale.
Torgersen also announced the proposed land swap with the Division of Wildlife Resources for property in Range Creek will not happen. In place of this land swap, an internal property swap will take place.
Mesia Nyman of the U.S. Forest Service alerted the council to the recent events in the forest due to the heavy rains. Big boulders are beginning to move and come crashing down onto the roads. The biggest problem is in Ferron Canyon where two large rocks in the road required the road to be closed for removal and repairs.
Nyman also announced the burn in the Jungle area has been extinguished by the heavy rains. The burn did blacken about 400 acres. The lightning caused fire recently started near Wrigley Reservoir which burned about 15 acres, is out now. Timber sales are in process at Potter's Pond and the Bridge Campground.
"We are hoping to pickup up NEPA for the Muddy drainage again this winter," said Nyman. "We are finishing the archaeology study now. We also have one proposal to reroute the road around the Meadow Gulch slide. Another fun thing, the Mazda car company filmed a commercial on the forest last week.
"As far as ATVs go, we are looking at opening the dugway road up onto the cap of Horn Mountain. This is in the planning stages. I would also like to urge anyone who witnesses illegal trail use by anyone, try to get close enough to get license numbers and report it to the forest service office," concluded Nyman.
Sherrel Ward added, "The greatest threat to our public lands is what's taking place on the mountain in regards to vehicles on the forest. This is our watershed and public land, something has to be done to stop the damage being done by vehicles. What was once a motorcycle trail on Gentry Mountain became an ATV trail, now full sized vehicles are traveling that trail. They are making more roads and extending existing roads. It's the same way all over the mountains.
"Hunters are the worst, most serious problem. I was up there last weekend and I did not see one hunter walking. Everyone of them was on an ATV. I would like to know what happens following the writing of a citation for illegal trail use. Does the penalty fit the crime? We need to stop the illegal use because the young people learn from their parents," said Ward.
Following a discussion of vehicle use and misuse, the council decided that education and enforcement of existing laws is the key to stop this problem. They approved for Ray Petersen, Emery County Public Lands Director, to draft a letter expressing the feelings of the council, to be published in the newspapers. Another suggestion was made to petition the DWR to attach penalties for illegal trail or road use to hunting privilege forfeiture.
"The best enforcement is other riders. If someone sees another vehicle illegally using a road or trail, they should turn them in," said Tory Killian. "Most of the ATV riders are riding legally. It's those few who ride illegally and do the damage that are going to spoil it for the rest of the riders."
Ward announced the water year statistics. "We ended the water year at 106 percent of normal. All of the reservoirs have carryover and we are starting the new year off great," said Ward.