Old Spanish Trail Reclamation Booklet One of Many Topics Discussed at Emery County Public Lands

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By Julie Johansen

Acting Emery County Public Lands Chairman Edward Geary introduced the booklet The Old Spanish Trail Reclamation to the council at a meeting last week. Geary stated that the purpose of the published information was to be a guide for residents and visitors. The Emery County Historical Preservation Commission was heavily involved in the information presented. He also stated that the brochure was a very ambitious and comprehensive guide to the trail. The acting chairman related that the Emery County section of the trail begins at Green River and ends at the Oak Spring Ranch south of Emery.

Next, Jake Palma from the Bureau of Land Management reported that a new outdoor recreation planner, Myron Jeffs, has been added to the staff at the Price Field Office. He also noted to the group that the Deer Creek reclamation pipeline construction has begun, but there has been an appeal so there could be an interruption in completion. It was also mentioned that Joe’s Valley Bouldering Project was signed on Aug. 3 but it too has been delayed due to another objection regarding truck traffic from an impending Fossil Rock Mine permit application. The BLM asked for an MOU with Emery County regarding the imploding of the MK Tunnels on the desert east of Castle Dale. This was directed to the commissioners.

Steve Fluke, DOGM, then spoke to the group about coal regulatory groups.

The permit issued for Skyline Mine in Flat Canyon had been appealed by the Huntington Cleveland Irrigation Co. and PacifiCorp, but an amendment to the contract seems to correct the permit for all parties. They are also beginning to inventory all 4,000 abandoned mines in Utah, about 1,000 have been inventoried. Members of the council reported to Fluke about the open shaft mines in the Summerville historic area around Cedar Mountain. He will take these into consideration. He was also made aware of the economic situation reported at a recent energy summit that especially affects both Emery and Carbon counties.

Sept. 13 will be the date of Rotenone treatment of Ferron Creek drainage to kill the fish. Representative Chris Wood from the fish and game reported that it will not be hazardous to culinary water. He advised of approaching clinics sponsored by the Division of Wildlife Resources. A waterfowl clinic will be held at Desert Lake and will be a family affair. All equipment for this clinic will be provided. A clinic about fly fishing will be held on Sept. 30, at the D&R Building in Price. Discussion ensued about the new stipulation of traps set on private property. A $10 fee will be charged on any trap set farther away than 600 feet from your dwelling.

Forest Ranger Darren Olsen reported that four large trenches are being dug along the Joe’s Valley fault line to test seismic activity around the Joe’s Valley dam. These will be on the fault line that extends from the dam to the Millers Flat area. These tests are being conducted due to voiced concerns about the stability of the dam.

The sage grouse habitat on South Horn Mountain has been increased with the removal of pinon and juniper trees on approximately 1,500 acres to increase the sage brush. There will be no harvest of the veatrim plant for cancer treatment in the Potters Ponds area this year.

Ranger Olsen introduced Tiffany Cummins, who is now working on the Forest Plan. The plan includes three phases: 1. assessment, 2. development and 3. implement and monitor. Cummins stated that they are now working on phase two, which included comments from cooperating agencies and develops the framework to be implemented in the final phase of scoping in November.

Johnathan Hunt with State Parks reported the improvements at Goblin Valley, which include flushing toilets and widening and repair of the road. Hunt then went on to explain the Utah Symphony program that was recently hosted at the Park. Hunt also mentioned that the Deseret News is reporting that Millsite State Park is the second fastest growing park in the state.

The Emery County Land Use Bill is still progressing and being pushed forward hoping for adoption in the legislature.

Council member Sherrell Ward reported that the water storage in the reservoirs are all still up, especially in Huntington North and Electric Lake, which both remain in the 90th percentile of normal.