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Rock fall at the Buckhorn Panel

This file photo shows the Buckhorn Panel before the rock fall. Some damage has occurred to the benches and railings at the site.

By COREY BLUEMEL
Staff writer

Members of the Emery County Public Lands Council met in their first 2009 meeting. Council chairman Bruce Wilson welcomed everyone to the meeting and began with agency reports. Floyd Johnson from the Bureau of Land Management reported concerning his agency.

Johnson said a rock fall has occurred at the Buckhorn Panel in Buckhorn Wash. The debris reportedly did not do any damage to the rock art on the panel, but did cause damage to the benches and structures at the site. His department is developing a clean up plan and requested whatever help Emery County could provide.

With the approval of the resource management plan, the BLM will now implement the OHV plan. Johnson said east of Emery County has no designated routes, and work will begin on that plan. They are also working on a single track travel plan for near the Temple Mountain area.

Gary Petty, public lands council member, told Johnson of some concerns near Emery. A reclamation project for that area is to include the road. Petty said the cattlemen do not want the road reclaimed.

Ray Petersen informed Johnson the road is an historic route and he feels it may be prudent to re-establish and maintain the road. Johnson will take this information back to Wayne Ludington for consideration.

Bryan Torgersen from the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration reported the lease for the industrial site near Green River has been finalized. He also said due to economic conditions, the May auction has been cancelled and there may be a cancelation of the October auction. The economic conditions have also affected oil and gas drilling.

Brandon Hoffman representing the US Forest Service said things are slow now due to snow conditions. He said some fuels treatment is taking place around Joe's Valley. Due to minor regrowth, some of the juniper trees are being retreated. He said a cool burn would take place in and around the Joe's Valley area. This will entail burning the surface material without harming the Ponderosa trees.

"Many of the Ponderosas in that area are peeler trees. That means Native Americans, hundreds of years ago, peeled the outside of the tree to access nutritional things inside. Many of the trees in the Joe's Valley area are peeler trees and it is considered the biggest site around," said Hoffman. Hoffman stated due to the historical value of those trees, they will be protected from the burn.

He reported the burn in the Pines area will probably take place in early spring just after the snow is gone. The grasses should be back up before grazing begins.

The Lake Canyon fuels project was discussed. Hoffman informed the council that project will probably not take place due to the litigation costs involved. He said the project has gone back into federal litigation and costs to fight it are too prohibitive.

Hoffman also reported some prescribed burns are being planned for this season. Canyons from Bacon Rind to Reeder are being considered for burning. Regrowth in the Jungle area from a previous prescribed burn was reported to be "unbelievably good."

Petersen asked Hoffman about the proposed Miller's Flat project. He said he has several concerns about the proposals to close some dispersed camping spots, road and trails. He requested the forest service to wait on that decision until county representatives can get up there after the snow is gone to evaluate the area. "We are not opposed to the vegetation portion of the proposal, but we,re opposed to the closures." said Petersen.

Hoffman said the forest service does not want to wait, but if the public lands council has reservations, they should write a letter of concern. The public lands council approved to write their concerns.

Wilson announced seven applications were received for the positions on the public lands council. The council agreed to send the applications to the Emery County Commission for selection and approval with emphasis on retaining the current members.




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