A public hearing was hosted during Wednesday’s regularly scheduled Carbon County Commission meeting to consider amendments to the Carbon County Resource Management Plan regarding Inventoried Roadless Areas (IRAs). Before opening the hearing, Todd Thorne, Carbon County Building, Zoning and Planning Director, spoke on the issue.
Thorne stated that there are seven roadless areas in the county, which does not necessarily mean that there are no roads, just limits on what can be done to them. The areas include Upper Fish Creek and the Castle Valley Ridge, among others. In order to assist the state with the petition, Thorne has been asked to amend the resource management plan that is part of the general management plan for management levels in the areas.
There are four categories to choose from with one being the most restrictive and four stating that new roads in and around roadless areas are being requested. Thorne explained that they are requesting a level three, which means that roads are already established and simply need to remain for road infrastructure.
One of the roads in question is an emergency escape route for Scofield and closer areas, which is crucial to maintain. This plan may also provide for active management of the landscape as well as an overburden of growth of trees and other shrubberies. The plan may mean better watershed and forests overall, Thorne explained.
Two states, Idaho and Alaska, have already successfully petitioned the forest service for state specific rules and Thorne stated that there are other states currently petitioning. While the public hearing was opened, there was no one that spoke during it. Commissioner Casey Hopes made a motion to approve the ordinance with the other commissioners agreeing.