The Manti-LaSal National Forest is hoping to have their motor vehicle use map out in two-three weeks. This map will outline all roads and trails open to motorized travel on the Manti-LaSal.
Commissioner Gary Kofford was concerned about the 150 feet rule. This rule states that campers can't get off the road more than 150 feet. Kofford is concerned because several dispersed camping spots on the forest are at the end of short roads and most of them more than 150 feet off the road. He wondered how this dispersed camping would be handled. Mesia Nyman, district ranger, said they recognized from the discussion they had in public lands in May that something would need to be done to allow these campsites to remain open. The forest service with the help of the public lands council will begin marking and designating these traditional, established dispersed sites as open or closed. It is their intent to keep as many of these open as possible.
Commissioner Kofford said they could also change the 150 foot rule to 300 feet which would help. Nyman said they considered that but decided that posting the camp areas as open or closed would work.
Commissioner Kofford was concerned that this could be confusing. What campers think is an appropriate spot and what the forest service considers appropriate could be two different things. Nyman said there shouldn't be any confusion, because things will be the same as they have always been. The forest service has had the 150 foot rule since 1989.
Howard Sargent, forest supervisor, spoke of the planning rule for the forest service. The new planning rule has been in place since April. There have already been some lawsuits filed on the new planning rule. The local forest service is taking a wait and see approach. They also think there will be changes when a new administration takes over in Washington DC.
Sargent said the wild and scenic river planning meetings went well and they had good participation and good comments from the local people. They received hundreds of comments and the team is working on the comments. Some segments in Utah will possibly be designated and Sargent said they would represent Utah well in the wild and scenic system.
Commissioner Sitterud said he has received calls from grazers who are concerned they wouldn't be able to do any water projects on the forest. Sargent said right now there is much confusion about this due to House Bill 58. Sargent said if the United States has a vested water right then they could work on them. If not then there isn' t a clear answer yet. Commissioner Sitterud said he thinks if a structure is already in place the grazers should be able to maintain it. Sargent said that is the feeling of the forest service too, but there haven't been any decisions made yet. Nyman said the forest service does have some water rights for cattle in the Pines and Quitchumpah areas and others which she would have to research.
The forest service thanked the county for the boat dock at Joe's Valley. Nyman said the forest service road is passable up to Willow. The Division of Wildlife Resources is plowing the road into Duck Fork. The road into Potters and over to Millers Flat is not yet passable when it is the barriers will be removed. In Huntington Canyon from Old Folks Flat down is open and taking reservations. Everything above still has snow. Nyman reported the Order of the Arrow scouts will be doing their national project beginning on June 16. Their opening ceremonies will be June 14 at 8:30 p.m. The scouts will work removing tamarisk in Buckhorn Draw and at Joe's Valley. The scouts will be spending $400,000 on the project and the local forest service will be spending approximately $80,000 on chemical and personnel for the project.
The project will set the tamarisk back 30 years. The forest service has historical photos of the tamarisk in the draw which will be used for comparisions.
Other forest service projects for the summer include: treating vegetation at the Black Dragon, treating pinyon and juniper at Joe's Valley and the Reeder pavement project. The Crandall Canyon monument at the mine site is moving along and will be done by Aug. 6.
Editors note: We regret to inform our readers that Howard Sargent, forest supervisor passed away over the weekend at his home in Durango, Colo.