The Emery County Public Lands Council meets once a month for updates on issues related to public lands and the agencies that regulate these lands.
It was reported there has been some minor seepage at Joe's Valley dam since the earthquake. The dam was examined right after the earthquake.
At the December meeting Randy Johnson gave an update on the Emery County Public Land use bill. He said they are still working through the process for state approval. The governor's office representatives and Sen. Mike Lee's representatives would be on hand at a meeting that afternoon to discuss the bill. He said they feel pretty good about things as most of the people they are working with, don't feel the county needs to go through state approval with the entire legislature, just the natural resources committee.
Chairman Bruce Wilson called for the agency reports, Paul Birdsey from the Division of Wildlife resources said biologists are counting big game at this time so they can make recommendations to the RAC concerning permit numbers. Ice is forming at some of the higher elevation reservoirs. Joe's Valley will reopen for fishing on Dec. 10.
Bryan Torgerson from SITLA reported they will hold a couple of land sales in the spring. These sales will help settle trespass issues on some land in Huntington Canyon and near the Hatt's Ranch. SITLA is doing OHV signing work in the Cedar Mountain Area, they will also be closing any redundant trails in the area. This will be ongoing work.
Darren Olsen from the United States Forest Service said they are currently selling Christmas tree permits. They are also working on the Winter Quarters coal lease which is for 700 acres near Skyline Mine. Preparations for the Green Hollow coal lease area are also ongoing. The forest service is in the planning stages on several other projects. The timber projects are wrapping up for this season. One extension has been issued to give the company an additional three weeks to haul the logs out.
Olsen was asked about the cabin that is being considered to be destroyed. He said he hasn't heard any more about it, but the owners have been notified that the lease is up.
Ray Petersen said on the other side of the mountain the Seely Creek guard station has been restored and now is available for rentals. He would like to see the lands council develop a statement/policy regarding the retention of these historic structures. Many of these historic cabins have been burned and he thinks that's a loss of history for the county.
Olsen said anytime there are structures in the forest, they require supervision and a lot of the 99 year leases are coming up at this time. Wilson said a statement will be prepared. Petersen said there's not many of these historic cabins left because they have been burned. Mistie Christiansen said there is a cabin on Emery Mountain that should be preserved too.
Dan Richards from state parks reported they will hold an ice fishing tournament on Dec. 31 at Scofield and it's time to register now. They have maps of the snowmobile trails which are groomed if anyone needs one. Mary Tullis is retiring from state parks and Fred Hayes will be the interim director until Mike Styler appoints someone to the position.
A trail is being developed from Huntington North Reservoir into Huntington. Richards said they haven't heard any more about state park closures and they are waiting for the 2.8 million to be restored to their budget.
Currently yearly golf passes are available to Green River golf course for $150 which is a good deal.
Trish Clabaugh, Price BLM field manager gave the BLM update. She said a group finished some clean-up work in Little Wildhorse Canyon and the group would like to do more work in the future. The BLM is looking at developing a campground at Little Wildhorse because it's such a popular hiking area.
The BLM is working on a permit application for drilling exploration at Lila Canyon mine, it's within their existing lease area. The BLM is working with the forest service on the Green Hollow coal lease. They are also coordinating with Blue Castle Holdings on the proposed nuclear power plant facility.
The BLM received a grant for the development of a horse camping area at the swinging bridge campground.
Clabaugh said they have been working on the abandoned mines in the San Rafael closure project. They received a letter from Emery County with the county's concerns outlined. The corrections Emery County had in the past weren't incorporated into the document and the table was wrong she said and these items will be corrected.
Guy Webster, council member said he would like to see it publicized better when the ATV groups do projects on the public lands. Clabaugh said new OHV coordinator Jaydon Mead recently sent out a newsletter and she will see that the newsletter is placed on the BLM website.
Wilson said it's the end of the year and several terms on the lands council are expiring including: Bruce Wilson, Ed Geary, Priscilla Burton, Sherrel Ward, and Mark H. Williams.
Burton said she would not be reapplying and she has enjoyed serving on the council the past six years. She has found the topics interesting and has enjoyed meeting with public officials and the community.
Ward, council member said water totals are down right now and it's a good thing the reservoirs have carry over, although it's early in the water season. Buckflat is 56 percent of average; Mammoth/Cottonwood 70 percent; Seely Creek-30 percent and White River 107 percent. The basinwide average is 62 percent. The first phase of the Huntington/Cleveland salinity project is done, by 2013 the project should be complete. Concerning the Adobe Reservoir the Huntington/Cleveland irrigation company isn't happy with the BLM because they are asking for $60,000 for a 30 year lease on the property and the irrigation company wasn't expecting that. They feel like the BLM wasn't up front with them. Work will begin on phase two of the project throughout this winter season. The Emery Water Conservancy District is trying to build up a reserve in funds, because their facilities are getting older and will need to be updated or replaced in the future.
Gary Kofford said he will not be reapplying to the lands council. Wilson thanked him for his work and all the time he's donated to the county.
Rod Player told about the trail projects completed this summer in the Huntington Canyon area where they worked on 56 miles of trail, refurbishing and removing dead fall. They will be back again next summer as well.
The next public lands meeting will be on Jan. 3, 2012.