2By Julie Johansen
It is that time of year again and Joe’s Valley is alive with rock climbers.
“It is a welcome sight to the county and we encourage this participation in our county,” said Emery County Public Lands Administrator Ray Petersen.
Federal agencies, BLM and Forest Service are also cooperating to improve facilities in the bouldering areas.
As with all federal government sponsored projects, certain specifications must be met before these activities can begin. The Environmental Assessment (EA), part of the NEPA process, has been completed and is now available for public comment. It can be viewed on the BLM website. This document lays out all the plans for everything hoped to be accomplished.
These plans included restroom facilities, increased and improved parking areas, campgrounds in both Cottonwood and Grimes Wash areas, sustainable pad sights, retaining walls and fire ring designations. These projects will improve the activity sights while also improving the natural terrain, protecting against erosion and riparian areas. A ten-mile trail network formed along the sights will also be established. While no new road construction up Straight Canyon is planned, parking areas will be graveled and increased. These improvements will completed in 2017.
Bill Broadbear, Recreational Specialist with the Forest Service, pointed out that this has been a collaboration of various entities; Forest Service, BLM, Emery County and climbing advocacy groups. Other recreation projects in this area being considered are a boat ramp extension and expansion of the east side parking lot at Joe’s Valley Reservoir. These projects will be under the direction of DWR, Emery Water Conservancy District and Forest Service. The DWR will work on the refined proposal and will not be ready until 2018.