The Utah legislature recently held a special session and appropriated funds for the maintenance of Range Creek. They approved $150,000 to get through the winter and have security people at Range Creek during the winter to deter any vandalism and thefts at the archaeological sites.
The Interim Comprehensive Management Plan has been written and is in place. The Final Comprehensive Management Plan will cover the entire Range Creek Drainage and will be a jointly authored document between DWR and the BLM. This document is expected to come out in early 2005. Another recent development in the Range Creek management will be the Division of Parks and recreation taking over the management of Range Creek. The DWR will still be the agency dealing with wildlife, but the management of the people and their access will now be under the direction of Parks and Recreation. This decision was made by Bob Morgan, the executive director of the department of natural resources. The property will be jointly managed by DWR and Parks and Recreation.
A permitting system for access to Range Creek is in the planning stages. A day use permit would be available at the local museums and would be free. These permits will allow the number of people entering Range Creek to be closely monitored. This access will still be by foot or horseback only. There is a horse gate on the north end of the property. This permitting system is tentatively scheduled to be in place by spring.
Currently you do not need a permit to enter Range Creek and access is by foot or horseback only. People are directed to enter the north end only through Little Horse Canyon. The access on the south end through Turtle Canyon is mainly private property and the landowners have asked that the public not be allowed to enter from the south end.
Range Creek may be accessed by the following route: Take Hwy 6 then take the Horse Canyon road (11 miles south of the East Carbon-Hwy 123 road) east past the old Horse Canyon Mine facilities. At this point the road turns to dirt. Just beyond the mine, the road forks. Take the left or north fork. Follow this road up over Horse Canyon and down Little Horse Canyon. Where Little Horse Canyon meets Range Creek there is a parking lot and access to the WMA (Wildlife Management Area.).
Camping is allowed at the parking area, but not within the fenced area of the WMA. Corinne Springer (Ranch Manager) is on site at all times and Parks and Recreation and DWR have a regular presence on site. Public aircraft landing on the ranch is prohibited.
There are at least two public visitation days planned for next spring or early summer on the WMA, where the gates will be opened and the public will be allowed to drive through the property. Plans are also being made for having people onsite to lead tours and show and interpret archeological sites. These dates will be widely announced and advertised when they are set.
The DWR will also be working with the local landowners to see if a loop trip from Little Horse Canyon to Turtle Canyon and back through Little Park Wash would be OK with them during these visitation days.
The Interim Comprehensive Management plan will be printed in future editions of the Emery County Progress.