The Emery County Public Lands Council plans to hold the first in a series of public meetings on the proposed San Rafael Swell National Monument beginning later this month.
While no definite dates have been set, the meetings are being planned to begin the process of drafting the language for the proposed monument.
According to Randy Johnson, Emery County commissioner, during meetings with the Department of Interior the department indicated that it wished to react to a drafted proposal rather than be in the business of drafting the language of such a proposal, which, he said, was good news for the county.
"They don't want to design a monument, they want to react to our proposal," Johnson said.
The county plans to hold a series of meetings to solicit comments on what the proposal should look like. "We'll take comments on what should be in the proposal. As of yet there is no fleshed out proposal," Johnson said.
The 1998 legislation created in a series of public meetings by Emery County will be used as the framework to begin discussions about the monument, according to Johnson. "We'll start with the '98 legislation as a concept and let people praise or criticize from there. At the end we will have a final meeting to show the public what we have come up with."
While sentiment on the monument is strong both for and against its creation, the decision on its creation and its scope still rests in the hands of Emery County residents, according to county leadership.
"We're doing something that's never been done before, so there's no precedence for it," said Dennis Worwood of the public lands council. "We'll look at the full range of options. The interior is waiting for us to give them a product for their own public process."