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Extreme makeover Rock Canyon style

Danny Kramer, Dillon Larson and Elena Fikaris move large rocks for a project to make the Rock Canyon trail more family friendly.

One of the most extreme trails in Emery County was recently made safer. Members of the Utah Conservation Corps, volunteers from local OHV clubs, dedicated hunters, and forest service personnel have worked many hours to make the Rock Canyon trail a little safer for those who use it.

Rock Canyon is trail number 63 in the Arapeen Trail system. It is rated as Most Difficult due to the steep grades and its extremely rocky nature.

Don Keele operates the forest service trail cat during installation of the ATV cattleguard at the top of Rock Canyon trail.

"It is among the few trails that lead directly from town to the mountain," said Bill Broadbear, forest service recreation manager. "Many people use this trail as direct access from their homes in Emery County to the Manti LaSal National Forest, so our main goal was to make it safer for the families who might use Rock Canyon. It is one of the most used trails for mountain access and we wanted to reduce the difficulty. Much of the funding to do this project came from a grant from the state motorized trail fund."

As a part of the project, Don Keele, Ferron resident and trail volunteer, operated the forest service trail cat to smooth out the trail. In many places, large rocks were in the trail and a hydraulic jack-hammer was used to break up the rocks and the trail cat was used to smooth the trail surface. "The trail is still difficult due to its steepness. We can't do anything about that but we were able to remove some of the large boulders," added Broadbear.

Dillon Larson, Elena Fikaris, Mills Davis and Danny Kramer of the Utah Conservation Corps shored up the steep sides of the trail with rock walls, where washouts were possible. In some places, the trail was very narrow due to erosion, and by placing rock walls along these portions of the trail, they hope to secure the trail for a long time.

Keele, along with his wife Bonnie, Joan Powell, Clayton Campbell, Bruce Wilson, Travis Gray, Mike Mills, Shawn Wilson, Cooper Pierce and Mark H Williams, installed the new cattle guard, fence and gate on May 6.

Other volunteers who helped with the rehabilitation of the trail in previous weeks are: Harold Strong, Irene Hancock, Dave Platt, and Ryan Hansen.

In addition to the work in Rock Canyon, Keele has operated the trail cat and completed some renovation on other trails in Emery County. He has worked on Fix-It Pass, Eva Conover road, Behind the Reef, Justensen Flat access and Cane Wash.

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