By Julie Johansen
Emery County Public Lands Administrator Ray Petersen presented alternatives to the public lands council regarding the MK tunnels and also the dilemma with Long Street in Green River.
The proposals for the MK tunnels included three sites: Man Camp Site, Powder Magazine and Buckhorn Panel Site, and the Main Tunnel site. The draft also included two alternatives for the Main Tunnel Site: A. Using the funding which the Bureau of Land Management would have used to eradicate the tunnel and portal, then the county would assume management. B. The BLM would eradicate the tunnel but not the portal and work with the county to interpret the remaining sites. This would require funding under Cold War Site Legislation. The historical value of these tunnels has been deemed very important to many.
Next, Petersen explained that Green River Road, Long Street, is a very complex issue. The commissioners and Petersen have been meeting with the BLM and property owners. He stated that the original intent of the WSA in 1983 allows use of that road. The next step for Emery County is to apply for a right of way so that the road will be a county road. The exact route has not yet been determined whether it will go across SITLA land or not. Some remaining questions include biking, parking lot area and land owner cooperation.
Commissioner Lynn Sitterud, Commissioner Kent Wilson and Randy Johnson have recently returned from Washington, DC and reported their positive impression of new Congressman John Curtis. The trio made the trip to help further the Emery County Land Bill. All congressional representatives at the meeting felt that the time is right and the bill is already to be presented. With the procedures of President Donald Trump in Utah on Monday it seems a great time to garner more local control of lands.