|Cole Pitchforth, Aaron Clapp, John Healy and Matt MECCAriello work on the tamarisk removal. The outing was in preparation for the 1,000 scouts coming June 14-21, 2008.|
A huge project will be undertaken by the Order of the Arrow scouts in June of 2008. Approximately 1,000 scouts along with support staff will come into the county to do a service project. The project will include the removal of tamarisk from a 10 mile stretch in the Buckhorn Wash area and also tamarisk removal around Joe's Valley Reservoir.
The OA is coming for one week June 14-21 in 2008. They will stage from the Canyon View Junior High School in Huntington. The lawn at the junior high will turn into a sea of tents as the youth spread out over the school grounds. Support personnel and those bringing RVs will also utilize the rodeo grounds across the street from the junior high.
A trial run of the project was conducted June 7-8 with the national leaders coming to Emery County to get acquainted with the area. They met with US Forest Service personnel, Bureau of Land Management personnel and the Emery County Sheriff's Office. Logistics for an outing this big require a lot of preparation and planning. John Hess said they are in their third year of planning for this effort. "We are here in the area to learn how to clear the tamarisk and the correct process. The scouts will be using lopers and hand saws and the trained personnel from the agencies will operate the chain saws. After the tamarisk is cut down then the stumps are treated with a herbicide to kill the roots. The Emery County Weed and Mosquito Department will administer these treatments.
"We will separate into work groups of 20 with four squads of five people in each squad. They will fan out over the area to be treated. We will be working down in the drainage as well as scouring the hillsides and side canyons for the tamarisk. Our goal is to attract 1,000 people to this project. With 200 staff members and 800 OA members. To be an OA member you must be at least 13 years old. Many adults remain OA members too and we hope they'll come and participate in this project. To become an OA member you must be recommended for membership from your troop. As long as you remain registered you can sustain your OA membership throughout your lifetime. We have some OA members in their 60s and 70s.
"We will be using the kitchen facilities at the junior high as well as bringing in field kitchens. The ladies will use the shower facilities at the school and portable showers will be brought in for the scouts. For the lunches down at the worksites they will be fed trail lunches which consist of crackers and cheese, granola bars, jerky and other nonperishable items. These lunches will be brought in with us. The Saturday night opening dinner and the Friday night closing dinner will be catered by local vendors in your area.
"The official name of the project is an Arrow Corps Service Project. Projects will occur on five different national forests at the same time. The Shasta-Trinity in California, the Bridger-Teton in Wyoming, the Mark Twain in Missouri and the Washington-Jefferson in Virginia; five sites, five weeks and 5,000 participants.
"We hope to have all of the OA members from the Emery and Carbon county areas as well as the Western States come and participate in this service project. Each OA lodge can decide which project they would like to participate in. We hope some will choose to come here. This is a lesser known area than some of the national forests and we are doing a lot of advertising in scout publications to heighten the interest for this project and the others. We hope many of our participants are from lodges in Utah, Arizona, Colorado and we hope to attract people from the East Coast as well. We want people from all over the United States, but we suspect the majority will be from the West.
"With this many scouts, safety will be our primary concern. We will guard against heat stroke, we plan to work in the early morning hours and rest in the heat of the day. We will have a water truck and shade shelters along the areas where they will be working. Everyone is being asked to bring a wide brimmed hat, boots, long sleeved shirts and everyone will be required to wear safety glasses and carry water with them. Our number one concern is the sun. We are also aware that this Buckhorn area is prone to flash flooding and we will keep constant monitoring on the weather. We will be on the lookout if we need to move to higher ground in the event of thunderstorms. We will also be prepared with a medical officer and EMTs. We will be bringing our own people and the main medical personnel will come from Salt Lake. We will also have security personnel and a safety officer.
"We are coordinating with Karl Ivory from the Price BLM office and Clyde Mayer is the professional scouter involved with the project. I started as a youth involved in the boy scout and explorer program. I became involved again as my sons went through the scouting program and became Eagle Scouts and OA members. I am from Boulder, Colo.
"We want to be a part of the community while we are here. We want to help the local economy and will be buying fresh items and a lot of our food locally. I'm sure we will be visiting the local hardware stores and we will also pick out a local bank. We will be measuring the area available at the junior high to make sure the tents will fit. We are planning for 1,000 tents, but some people will bring RVs and the number of tents will probably be less, but we're still planning for 1,000.
"Our work schedule will be 4.5 work days and one day of recreation. While 75 percent of the group is working, 25 percent will be participating in some type of recreation. We don't have all that worked out yet, but it will include rafting down the Green River, mountain biking, museum and dinosaur quarry tour, golf tourney for the adults, fishing and others. The participants will be able to sign up for the recreation that interests them the most.
"The participants are responsible for getting themselves here and if they fly into Salt Lake we will arrange transportation to bring them to this area.
"We are also looking to the community to help provide entertainment during the evening hours. We want to have evening programs. We would like someone who knows the local history of the area to present a program and also local entertainment. Anyone who fits into this category can let us know how they would like to participate. When we get here next summer the local community is welcome to come out and see what we're doing," said Hess. Hess can be reached at 303-357-1039 for questions about the event.