Photo courtesy www.SanRafaelCountry.com
By Julie Johansen
Emery County Public Lands Council Chairman Rod Player announced the following land use activities for the month of October: Joe’s Valley Bouldering Festival – 20, 21, 22; Goblin Valley Ultra Marathon – 28; Senator Mike Lee’s staff will be in Cleveland from 1:30 to 3 p.m. on Oct. 5.
Player also pointed out that Emery County Commissioners are grateful and praise the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, SITLA and State Parks for the part they play in helping to promote tourism activities in Emery County. He stated that the council and commissioners will be taking a field review of the MK Tunnels on the desert as rehabilitation or destruction is being considered. This will take place on Oct. 11. The group will meet at 9 a.m. at the county administration building on Main Street in Castle Dale or at the Buckhorn Kiosk at 9:30 a.m. The public is invited to attend.
Next at the meeting, audience member Val Payne approached the podium to discuss the historical options of the tunnels. The tunnels were built by the Department Of Defense during the Cold War as refuge. They have since become a safety risk and were reclaimed in 2008-2009, but because of erosion they once again need attention. The BLM will ultimately make the decision on how to proceed but will consider historical value versus safety concerns.
Jake Palma from the BLM reported that projects are being put in place in Joe’s Valley to be ready for the Joe’s Valley Bouldering Festival. This includes bathrooms, trails, parking areas and landing pads.
The petition for a stay on the Deer Creek Mine reclamation has been denied and work will continue there.
On Oct. 12, a service project will commence by university students to clean up and fix fences around the San Rafael Bridge campground.
A lease modification on the Green Hollow Coal lease in the Quitchumpah area has been requested. This lease is with three government entities, the BLM, Manti-La Sal National Forest and Fish Lake Forest Service.
Palma also stated that with a new recreational specialist, Myron Jeffs, new things will be happening.
A new field manager, Chris Conrad, will begin duties in November at the Price BLM office.
Wild horse gathers were also briefly discussed. Surveys of the areas are being conducted again and then numbers and decisions for gathers will be more conclusive. The Mackey Flat gather scheduled for 2017 has been delayed.
DWR reported netting dates on the various drainages and reservoirs: Oct. 6 – Scofield, Oct. 10 – Huntington North and Oct. 12 – Joe’s Valley.
The increase of fishing limits in Millsite to 16 fish is continuing and may continue next year. Reportedly, ice fishing should be great this year with the lower level of the water. It was decided not to use chemical treatment in Millsite Reservoir because of the culinary water outlet. Range Creek will be restocked in the spring and data on the contamination of the fire on Huntington Creek will also become available in the spring. Reports also state that the mussel contamination at Lake Powell continues.
A representative from SITLA reported an increase in donations to the state of 30%, from $45 million to $65 million. A mineral offering east of Castle Dale was also noted. Energy Matrix, LLC has notified SITLA they are no longer interested in the land in the Green River Industrial Park. Des Bee Dove Trail funds have been approved.
Forest Ranger Daren Olsen also reported that work is happening in Straight Canyon to be ready for the Joe’s Valley Bouldering Festival. Timbering is also continuing in the forest, which greatly helps reduce fire danger. He cautioned about the gathering of cattle and sheep in the forest, as well as hunting, so be careful driving in the mountains.
The state park report, given by the council, reported that more campsites are being constructed at Huntington North by local contractors and expansion at Millsite is scheduled for December through March.
Representatives from the Washington delegation reported that they feel that the final decision on the size reduction of national monuments is approximately three weeks away. Any pressure on the national legislators for the Emery County Land Bill is being delayed until this decision becomes public.