A Jan. 29 Deseret News article said, "The Grand Staircase National Monument was created by a different president who developed his executive order in complete secrecy, with no notice and no collaboration." How does this differ from what is going on right now in the San Rafael Swell? The public lands council and the commissioners have evidently had meetings in secrecy to be able to promote this in the manner that they have been doing. The general public is invited to their meetings and in reports received from attendees and from my own personal knowledge, a national monument was never mentioned. If they truly wanted the input of the county citizens, they would have been more open with their plans and up front with their ideas.
This whole thing has been an insult to the intelligence of the people of Emery County. Are the commissioners and the council so frightened of what we might say that they didn't dare bring it up in open meetings with the general public invited? I'm sure that there are knowledgeable people on both sides of the issue that could have enlightened us during the planning and without the 'slap in the face' that we all received on Jan. 26.
The public lands council, even with the Emery County commissioners, does not represent all interests in the county, especially motorized recreation. They are very one-sided and have proven to be close-minded to the future of multiple use.
Where is a copy of this monument management plan for the public to view? At the public meeting on Jan. 26, we were told that water and grazing would be protected. Existing permits were mentioned. What happens at the end of the term of each existing permit? Are they going to be renewed or will the permittees be forced out? Where is a guarantee on anything? Questions were asked about motorized recreation. The subject was basically ignored. Answers about committee involvement didn't pacify any of us. Working on a committee doesn't mean the committee wants motorized recreation.
The county needs a travel plan covering the San Rafael Swell. It should be formulated with the help of the public. The public should have input as to recommending roads and trails that should be left open. It doesn't mean that they all would be left open but it would bring the people of the county together with a goal in mind. It would let them be a part of this major decision.