New Public Lands Administrator for Emery County


By Julie Johansen

A new Emery County Public Lands Administrator was introduced at the committee’s August meeting on Tuesday. Jim Jennings was hired from a group of seven candidates to head the public lands affairs within the county. Jennings expressed his passion for public lands and he has been involved in many public land projects. He is a Price native but has lived in Emery County for the past 22 years.

During the meeting, two main concerns were the theme of most of the reporting agencies, including the many people currently recreating on public lands and how to handle the bison migration from the tribal lands in Range Creek.

Each presenter explained the large influx of people on the public lands within the county. The Forest Service representative, Chris Nichols, spoke about the massive influx of ATV and UTV traffic on these public lands. He asks that if those riding see new faces that they help educate them about good stewardship practices and also about safety when riding, including the hand signs showing that there are others following.

Nichols also introduced the new proposed fee structures for camping in the forest campgrounds. This new fee structure can be seen on the Manti-La Sal website. Also, he explained that the trailer parking limits are being monitored so that everyone can get a chance to find places to park their trailers and camp.

Utah State Park Ranger Larry Johansen voiced the same concern for large crowds at the state parks. Johansen also shared that Millsite is too low for access from the boat ramp.

The bison migration and over-the-counter hunting permits were discussed by the group following a meeting in an adjacent room. Chris Wood of the Department of Wildlife Resources stated that there have been 80 permits issued, but the harvest has been much smaller.

The Emery County commissioners reported that they wrote a letter opposing this hunt and the way it had been presented to the public, including losing all points for a once-in-a-lifetime permit and unavailability of access to the hunting area. A two-year planning process has been approved by the committee formed to address the issue. It is the desire of the group that the tribal leaders would handle the situation before the bison migrate off the tribe’s lands. This problem is still under advisement and monthly reports are available.

Kevin Albrecht of the Forest Service then reported on the timber sales on the Manti-LaSal. The mine timber sale is 100% complete and many trucks are hauling off of the Sanpete side. Black Canyon will not be harvested until next year and a couple more sales have taken place. He also was happy to report that there have been no large fires on the Manti-La Sal this year although a couple of small ones have been quickly extinguished.

Dana Dean of the Department of Oil, Gas and Mining (DOGM) reported that the final reclamation plan of Crandall Canyon is ready this week. Mines under NEPA right now are William’s Draw, Walker Flat and Skyline. The Rhino Mine has filed bankruptcy but is moving forward. She also stated that there is a water discharge into the Skyline Mine.

Kendra Hinton, also from DOGM, said that they are continuing to monitor the water into Skyline. The JC 1 well is producing 38,000 gal/minute and there is consideration of drilling another well coming into the fractures and returning to Electric Lake. The closure of mines had been questioned but they are owned by the Bureau of Land Management and it is their feeling that they are unstable and need to be covered up.

Chris Conrad, Bureau of Land Management, also reported that their areas, including Desolation Canyon River Runs, are full. A wild and scenic river plan is under construction. Conveyances are going forward on sheriff‘s office building, City of Emery and Goblin Valley. When questioned about Millsite Golf Course, he said that there are some long-term problems that have surfaced but a team is working on it.

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