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Emery Public Lands Council meets on a variety of land issues

Emery County Progress

Bill Broadbear of the U.S. Forest Service announced at Public Lands Council meeting the boat ramp contract for Huntington Lake has been let out to NELCO. The construction project should begin this week.

In conjunction with this project, the contract for the paving of the area, and also the three winter staging areas in Huntington Canyon should be awarded soon.

"It is our hope to pave everything at once up there," said Broadbear. "We are trying to coordinate these projects so everything will be completed this fall."

Broadbear announced Utah State Parks and Recreation has approved boats powered with less than 10 horsepower motors be allowed on Huntington Lake following the ramp installation. This approval was for safety reasons.

There are two use fires being monitored on the forest. One is near Ralston Reservoir and has been burning for two weeks and has only burned 12 acres. The other is at Loveridge Flat and has burned three acres.

Tom Lloyd, forest service geologist, is working on the reclamation of the drilling site on East Mountain. Now that the drilling equipment has been removed, the reclamation work has begun and it is hoped to be completed before winter for the healing process on the land to begin. The road closures will be lifted as soon as the reclamation work can be done.

A motor vehicle use map will soon be released that will identify all roads open to motor vehicles on the forest. This map will become the law enforcement tool to be used by the officers. It will show only motorized routes, not user created trails or non-motorized use trails.

Richard Beardall, lands council member, informed Broadbear that papers have been filed to open the road in Olsen Canyon. The road is not on the forest service maps as a legal road. "This road has been there forever. We need to revisit the issue of the historical value of this road. I thought we had an agreement with the forest service about it, but apparently not," said Beardall.

Broadbear stated that only NEPA backed roads will be on the map.

"We are working on Lord's Trail, Kitchen Trail, and Black Fork now, putting them through the process. Maybe the Olsen Canyon road should be added to that list," he said.

Councilmember Jim Gilson stated that he thought historic trails are important.

"Historic use trails should remain in the forest road system," he stated. "I'm not for user created roads, but we need to maintain historic routes."

Richard Stilson informed the council of the forest service intention to close the Red Pine Ridge road permanently. Broadbear stated he was not aware of that decision.

Broadbear also announced the forest service's intention to raise camping fees at many of the campsites in the forest. The ones that will be increased in the local area are up Huntington Canyon and near Gooseberry. These increases will not take effect until the 2008 camping season.

Councilmember Sherrel Ward suggested the forest service take a look at the overcrowding problem in the forest during holiday weekends. He said the forest service may need to look at restricting the number of campers during peak times.

Councilmember Gilson asked Broadbear about the musk thistle problem in the forest.

"This is becoming a serious problem. If it is allowed to continue, the grazers, ranchers, and wildlife will be in trouble. The amount of damage this is about to do is potentially catastrophic," said Gilson.

Mike McCandless, director of economic development for Emery County addressed the situation.

"Over the past 20 years, the invasive weed situation is the biggest problem being faced on the forest. The cheat grass and hound's tongue are also becoming a serious situation," he said.

Wayne Luddington of the Bureau of Land Management announced the supplement to the draft route management plan is out and the BLM will receive comments until Dec. 13.

Councilman Gilson informed the council of his concerns over the Joe's Valley fishery situation. He said the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has distributed a letter stating their concerns for not treating the reservoir to address the chub problem.

Brian Torgersen of the School and Institutional Trust Lands stated the request from the commissioners has been received concerning the off highway vehicle easement. The request is continuing through the process and will probably be complete in two to three months. SITLA is also working on a request from Emery County for an entry permit into 2,000 acres near the I-70 and SR-6 interchange.

The council approved the administration to draft a letter of request to the county commissioners to be sent to the investigative bodies who are investigating the Crandall Canyon mine disaster. This letter will request that an active miner or person with extensive mining knowledge be in on each investigation to represent the interests of the area.

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