Forest Service to address wild and scenic rivers again
|Huntington Creek in Huntington Canyon is to undergo the suitability process again. |
Mesia Nyman, of the US Forest Service, told the Emery County Public Lands Council the South Manti timber sale would definitely not take place. She said the sale has been in court for 10 years, and the US Forest Service just lost the final appeal. "That project is now gone," she said.
Ann King, of the US Forest Service office in Price, informed the council the planning rule has been rescinded. "We have no place to put the study about wild and scenic rivers. The decisions that have been made to this point are not valid. The two segments in Emery County, Huntington Creek and the Left Fork of Huntington Creek, will be put back into the process. We are ramping up to do the studies on all 83 river segments in our forest," said King. "We urge you to stay active in this process. We will hold a public meeting at the courthouse on May 9 to receive public comments."
Bill Broadbear, also of the Price office, told the council of plans for a nationwide effort to do a master plan for the recreation areas in the forest. "We will take a critical look at maintaining those numerous campgrounds built 30-40 years ago. The majority need major repairs, such as water systems, and we have deferred maintenance until that bill is nearing $700,000. We will be looking at each campground to determine its future. We will look at decommissioning sites or doing repairs. We are looking at removing the aging water systems because we do not have the funds to repair and replace those systems," said Broadbear.
He also stated they have not raised camping fees since the late 90s and that is a consideration, because 95 percent of the fees collected go to pay the camp hosts along with other things for each campground. "We may consider partnerships with private concessionaires for some campgrounds. Before anything is done, and before any site is closed, we will have public hearings. We request feedback on the proposed fee increase schedule," Broadbear stated.
There are 13 campgrounds on the forest service list for consideration. Proposals for those campgrounds are:
Lake Hill and Manti Community-increase the fees from $8 to $10 beginning in 2009;
Ferron Reservoir-upgrade existing features, with tables and fire rings as the first priority, reducing deferred maintenance, reduce the number of water connections, increase family site fees to $10 in 2008;
Indian Creek Guard Station- convert to a rental cabin with a $50 fee per night;
Joe's Valley-increase fees for single family sites to $15 and double family site to $20 in 2009;
Seely Guard Station-once work is completed, institute fees of $30 per night as a rental cabin;
Willow Lake-remove fees from this site by 2010, keeping the site open for use, fees generated do not cover the cost of collection;
Big Rock-increase fee to $50 per night in 2008;
Cleveland Reservoir-protect resources by improving the road into the campsites, fees increased to $5 per vehicle in 2008;
Fish Creek NRT campground and trailhead-begin charging a $7 fee for overnight camping only in 2008;
Flat Canyon-campground to remain closed dependent on removal of hazard trees and stabilization of timber stand. When the campground is returned to service, increase fees from $8 to $10;
Forks of Huntington-raise fees for individual family sites from $8 to $10 in 2009;
Gooseberry-increase fees from $6 to $10 per single in 2008, upgrade tables and fire rings as needed;
Gooseberry Reservoir-increase fees from $5 to $10 per single site in 2008 with upgrades to tables as needed.
Nyman went on to present a slide showing the unauthorized, user created roads on the forest system. These roads and trails are not on the forest service travel plan, and many that are on the plan as foot or horse trails have been used by motorized vehicles. "These roads and trails are unclassified and are not in our system. We will begin to monitor the usage of these roads and trails. We may choose to close them. As these unclassified roads and trails are not in our travel plan, we do not need a public process to close them. We have got to get a handle on the use of these user created trails and roads. We will never recognize and authorize them," said Nyman.
The Emery County Public Lands council meets on the second Tuesday each month at 10 a.m. in the courthouse in Castle Dale.