At the recent Emery County Public Lands Council meeting, Gary Reimer of the Bureau of Land Management informed the council that he has been appointed to take the place of Patrick Gubbins, who recently transferred to Nevada. Reimer said he is from Alaska and he will be here for a few months until a permanent replacement can be found.
"I have three major objectives to complete during my time here. The first is to finish the resource management plan for the Price district. The second is to complete an environmental impact study on the West Tavaputs, and the third is to upgrade inspections and enforcement. This is an interesting time for the RMP. We are listening to the comments and our preliminary is out now. We have taken a hard look at the management areas and we have the freedom to re-look at the parameters," said Reimer.
"In some areas we have found that we do not need to pursue added protection. We will pull back in the San Rafael Swell and the Range Creek areas. We feel we have sufficient management there. In Range Creek we have a special cultural management area," concluded Reimer.
Reimer then introduced Rebecca Doolittle, the BLM fluid and solid mineral specialist. Doolittle informed the council of the increased interest in gypsum and uranium in this area. "A company named Global Uranium Corporation of Vancouver, British Columbia has applied and been granted a permit to complete up to 16 borings this fall between SR-6 and the Buckhorn. This is new exploration and there is no proposal for a new mine," stated Doolittle.
Reimer stated that the Price District is planning a meeting with the Richfield District to discuss conclusions about the Factory Butte area. This area is located on Emery County's southern border and Reimer is eager to learn the effects to that border.
Mark Mesch from the Division of Oil, Gas and Mining presented a power point explaining their proposals at the MK tunnels sites in the Swell. "Due to safety concerns and liability issues from the land managers, the BLM, we were asked to give recommendations to how best handle this situation. We are recommending reclamation for these sites. Each site will be handled according to its needs. There are two sites which we are recommending no action be taken. But at the others, we are recommending a block wall closure for the opening and for the other we are recommending a welded rebar grate," said Mesch.
He explained that at the site of the MK tunnels the grate closure will allow visitors to look into the tunnels and experience the history of the site. An interpretive kiosk is also recommended to give the visitors the chance to learn how the tunnels came into existence. Two of the holes which are vertical shafts to the surface above the tunnel, will be backfilled with the material that was originally taken from them during the testing in the area.
"We have taken into consideration the cultural value of this site and we feel the proposals we are making are compatible with the cultural resource. The tunnels are eligible for historical site listing and our plan will not interfere with that listing if it should happen. We plan to maintain the historic content of this mining district," said Mesch.
The council undertook a discussion of the proposed project and each has varied views of the site. Dickson Huntington felt this proposal was a good one and should be undertaken. Ray Petersen stated that something needs to be done to protect visitors to the area, and that an interpretive site definitely needs to be in place. Sherrel Ward said something needs to be done for safety reasons, but he feels that the maximum amount of the experience for visitors should remain.
Derris Jones of the Division of Wildlife Resources said that elk classifications are being undertaken now. He stated the goal is 50 calves per 100 cows. "So far we have found the elk to be in smaller groups than normal, and many are not in their usual places due to the early snow melt and people's ability to travel the Skyline," said Jones.
"We are having bison management meetings with Wayne and Garfield counties. At the last one, we began to make progress. The Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife have purchased permits on the allotments and are trying to get the number of bison in the agreement increased.
"We have had reports of rabbit die offs. We need all the information we can get and any reports of dead or dying rabbits. We need to see a sick rabbit to determine the cause of the die offs.
"The division is also looking to increase the age objective for elk on the Manti. We feel we are wasting good bulls. We want to change the age objective, not the population objective," Jones stated.
Petersen then explained an item which was tabled from the last meeting. "Mark Williams has requested the county purchase an easement through SITLA property where the OHV club has its poker ride," said Petersen. Williams was on hand to state that the funds for the purchase would come from the funds gathered from registrations of OHVs. Following a discussion, the council passed on a vote of 4-2, to recommend the purchase of the easement to the county commissioners.
A representative from SITLA announced a land sale to be held in October. The parcel of land is 40 acres and is located east of Castle Dale. The auction will be held in Salt Lake City.
Mesia Nyman of the forest service announced a prescribed burn for the Jungle in Ferron Canyon. It is scheduled for the end of July, depending on the weather. It will be aerial ignition by helicopter. "We have tried to do this for the past 10 years and have never completed the burn. The road between Willow Lake and Ferron Reservoir will be closed from three days to one week. We are also doing a wildlife habitat project and fuels reduction in the Black Dragon area. We currently have a use fire in Engineer Canyon. At present it is five acres, and we have a crew on site 24-7. We are expecting it to take about 100 acres of the 150 acres of dead spruce surrounded by green meadows on three sides," said Nyman.
The next meeting will be held Aug. 15 at 10 a.m.