Council Members Listen to Agency Reports About Public Lands


By Julie Johansen

Chairman Rod Player opened the Emery County Public Lands meeting by announcing that there are three vacancies for members on the council. The council members are invited with regards to their interests, such as grazing, historical, non-motorized or motorized, water or land rights, and some at large. At this time, there is a lack of a historical member. These vacancies will be advertised in the newspaper for two weeks and interested parties should submit an application.

Chairman Player also announced that the last open house hearing on the forest plan will be Nov. 8 and the deadline for comments is Nov. 16. The San Rafael Advisory Council also has an open historical position. The nominations and applications are due by Nov. 24.

Kyle Beagley of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) introduced the new Acting Field Manager, Jordan Davis. Davis, a Sanpete County native, is out of the Salt Lake City office and will be at the Price office for four months, then the position should be filled permanently. He announced that Jurassic Monument is closed for the season. He then gave updates: North American Helium has started drilling three helium mines in southeast Emery County and Lila Canyon Mine is close to drilling into the longwall at the mine. An 80 acre parcel of BLM land southeast of Castle Dale is for sale.

Chris Wood, Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR), spoke about the work of aquatic biologist work on the lower Price River. This should improve the riparian habitat and increase fish population. The DWR law enforcement has been busy, especially with trespass calls. The Wildlife RAC Meeting is slated for next week. Some amendments for discussion include pronghorn releases, pheasant planting, Pine Valley Hunting and scopes on muzzleloaders. There was discussion about the open lion hunt and the feeling of the DWR was that it would not change the lion population.

Brian Torgersen, School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, spoke about the land exchanges prescribed by the Dingell Act. Some are still outstanding because of lengthy appraisals but are close to being finished. He also spoke about the solar company’s plans on Cedar Mountain, and their visual impacts.

Myron Jeffs, Forest Service Recreational Manager, stated that timber cutting has stopped in the Littles and Reeder Canyon areas, but will continue hauling as long as weather permits. He said that the Forest Service is responsible to ensure things are put back when timber work is completed. The Box Fire on Emery Mountain still has a couple of hot spots and continues to burn a little. He then announced that the Forest Service is hiring for future jobs. Two types of positions are available, a seasonal job and summer help with permanent placing if desired. The temporary jobs are open until Nov. 11 and permanent jobs until Nov. 12.

Brian Curtis, Outdoor Recreation, spoke about the thousands of visitors to the areas for the solar eclipse. Two new trail bosses have been hired and crews will be built around the bosses. He spoke about grants available for building trails, using funds for equipment and labor. Grants are also available for school programs. A Mountain West Trails Conference is scheduled for May 13-15, 2024 in Vernal.

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