By Julie Johansen
Chairman Rod Player opened the February Emery County Public Lands meeting by reading the mission state of the council. He reminded all that they are under the authority of the Emery County Commission and they only can make recommendations; any action is done by the commission. He also welcomed a new board member, Varian Allen.
Opening discussion then turned to Long Street and the inability to access the property at the end of this street. This has been discussed for several years and denial of access to public and personal land continues to be a problem. Kam Weihing, a landowner, addressed the council about his inability to use their family’s property. Another of his family also spoke virtually about the same problems.
Emery County Attorney Mike Olsen was then asked to state the legality of the situation and recommendations for procedure. He said for years, it has been a county road and no action has been taken to discontinue the road so it is still a public road.
Dana Truman of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was asked about the situation and she only replied that it is private property. Council member Kim McFarlane reminded that Green River City had written a letter to Emery County requesting action for access to the citizens of Green River. A motion was made and approved to recommend to the county commissioners that access on Long Street be regained for the public.
Construction on the Littles Creek Mountain Bike Trail was then discussed. It is a 13-mile, non-motorized trail west of Joe’s Valley Reservoir. The public comment period is open until Feb. 22.
Agency reports then began with Truman from the BLM introducing a new acting district manager, Elijah Waters. Waters explained that he was from Colorado and only here for 96 days. Truman also announced the San Rafael Swell Recreation Area Advisory Council Meeting on March 6 and 7. It will include a one day field trip on the 6th and an office meeting on the morning of the 7th.
Dal Gray from Division of Oil, Gas, and Mining reported that helium well permits have been increasing and the one active mine was promisingly productive. Gas production is remaining steady. He also reported that the carbon sequestering process is not an easy process and would probably take two to three years. Lila Canyon Mine is closed.
Bryan Torgersen from School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) told about the rebranding of SITLA to Trust Lands. The land exchanges between them and the BLM should be finalized by midsummer. He then spoke about the proposed closing of three roads: Calf Canyon, Calf Mesa and Muddy Creek. He gave the reasons being considered and concluded that likely all three would be left open. Hornshadow Solar then reported an additional acreage added, making them the largest solar field in the county.
Darren Olsen, Forest Ranger, again reiterated the scoping period for comments on the Littles Creek Bike Trail until Feb. 22. He also announced that they have hired 11 summer YCC seasonal employees and also some permanent employees. They are working on range improvements and Chamberlain has met with grazers to implement range improvements. They are burning clean up piles from completed logging operations north of Electric Lake.