United States Forest Service employees tour the Millers Flat area project. Rosann Fillmore, Bill Broadbear and Nathan Lewis.
The United States Forest Service Manti-LaSal office has had work crews in the Miller's Flat area this summer. According to Bill Broadbear the crews have worked in placing fire rings in campsites and eliminating redundant trails leading out of camp sites. Broadbear said there has been a problem in that area with people leaving campsites on ATVs and making user created trails, up mountain sides and across wetlands in the area. To block off these trails fences have been placed across the trails.
A new ATV trail has been created for users at Potter's Pond. It's a one mile loop around a forest trail and back out into the campground area and it's called the Paradise Creek trail.
Another big improvement to the campsites all along Miller's Flat road is the gravel on the roads leading up to the campsites. The roads have been graded and graveled to improve access to the campsites and to improve drainage on the dirt roads. Culverts have been added in problem areas to aid in drainage.
Broadbear said the project is called the Miller's Flat Integrated Project. They have worked in conjunction with the timber specialists of the forest service. The timber specialists have given the Miller's Flat project a section of forest where the dead, beetle killed timber stands. The work crews have taken lumber from this stand to build the fences in the area. The timber specialists have also marked sections which will be sold for timber harvesting.
The areas for timber harvest are being advertised. Broadbear said the dead spruce will be harvested for house logs. Broadbear said, "This is a very high use area. The roads and trails get a tremendous amount of use and we are trying to direct that use onto existing roads and trails. Our recreation crew has completed all of the work here including building the fences from dead spruce. We have a large amount of wetlands all through this area. We are trying to protect these wet lands. I don't know if everyone knows there is a fine for destroying wetlands and also a restitution fee for restoring any damage done to the wetlands. There was a recent case in the Potter's Pond area where a vehicle bogged through some wetlands and did considerable damage and will have to pay to have those wetlands restored. We aren't closing any mapped trails, but only those user created trails or trails with three or four entrances to the same campsite.
"We have a fantastic trails system with the Arapeen trails in our area. There are many places for ATVs to ride without destroying our wetlands. Wetlands are teeming with life," said Broadbear.
Another project which took place was trail building by the American Hiking Society. A new kiosk was installed at the trail head and a trail was built along with a bridge. The work took place on the Jordan/Seely trail head. The parking area has been fenced off and it is for day use only. You can park at the trailhead, but you must camp before you get to the trailhead.
Two new toilets have been installed in the Miller's Flat road area this summer. Many of the old user created trails have been ripped and reseeded.
The forest service welcomes users in the forest and encourages them to act responsibly and take care of the forest so everyone can enjoy it including future generations.