Forest Service Report of Road Closure Met with Opposition

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By Julie Johansen

Emery County Public Lands Chairman Rod Player called a meeting to order on Tuesday morning and gave a brief report on July’s field trip. In July, the PLC took to the road to visit various places in Huntington Canyon and ended in Joe’s Valley. Several agencies were then invited to address the council and audience members.

Acting Field Manager Brown from the BLM spoke of the volunteer projects being completed. She stated that the Deer Creek Mine Reclamation Plan had been signed on July 6, permitting a pipeline, and that the Joe’s Valley Bouldering Project should be signed soon. The Bouldering Project will include landing pads, parking, restrooms, campgrounds and trails. Brown then pointed out that it will be the state director who will determine the outcome of oil and gas leases in December 2017. She then handed out a list of the Department of the Interior’s top priorities for 2018.

  1. Making America safe through Energy Independence
  2. Making America Great though Shared Conservation Stewardship
  3. Making America safe- Restoring our Sovereignty
  4. Getting America Back to Work
  5. Serving the American Family

State Water Engineer Mark Stilson then spoke about the mine rehabilitation of both Crandall Canyon and Deer Creek mines. Deer Creek’s plan has been approved and monitoring continues for the iron content in the drainage from Crandall Canyon.

Stilson then announced a Southeastern Utah Water Workshop in Moab on Oct. 16 at the Moab Valley Inn.

Daren Haddock from DOGM told of the success of the Bronco Mine in Emery. However, it needs a market for the coal. He also reported that Skyline Mine had been given approval for mining in Flat Canyon, but the appeal of the Huntington Cleveland Canal Company is now working its way through the appeals process.

Crandall Canyon water emissions are in compliance with standards nearly every time they are checked and hopefully won’t have to be treated when the mine is reclaimed. The Cottonwood Mine is also beginning reclamation procedures.

Brian Torgerson of SITLA reported that there should be some clarification on the status of the national monuments by the end of next month. He also reported issuing a gravel permit west of Green River and was cautioned by the council to preserve the old Spanish Trail in that area.

Forest Service Representative Bill Broadbear reported on the trail work being completed in Emery County that includes the widening of 25 trails from 50 inches to 60 inches. He also stated consideration of a timber project from Fish Lake to Huntington Canyon on the beetle killed spruce trees, which would be about 36,000 acres. He then announced the temporary seasonal closure of Nuck Woodward Road. He considered this a compromise with OHV users and others. This was met with many questions and opposition. A motion was made by the Lands Council to recommend to the Emery County Commissioners that this not be considered without much public comment and meetings being held.

Jonathan Hunt from Utah State Parks reported that they are seeing increases in revenue at both Huntington and Millsite state parks. The triathlon held at Huntington State Park by the Emery County Search and Rescue was a big success.

During a public comment period, Harvey Howard asked that consideration be given to handicapped access on public lands especially regarding road closures such as Nuck Woodward.

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