KAMAS NON-MOTORIZED RECREATION PLAN FOR MT. WATSON PROPOSED WILDERNESS, LAKES BACKCOUNTRY!! COMMENTS DUE JANUARY 7, 1999
The Kamas Ranger District has finally released the Backcountry Recreation Plan for the Proposed Mt. Watson Wilderness Area (the Lakes Backcountry) which includes all of the roadless country from Kamas east to Bald Mountain. This includes the headwaters of the Weber and Provo Rivers, including such notable drainages as the Main and Middle Forks of the Weber, Smith Morehouse, and the North Fork of the Provo and Shingle Creek.
COMMENTS ARE DUE BY JANUARY 7, 1999 TO JANE COTTRELL, DISTRICT RANGER, KAMAS RANGER DISTRICT, WASATCH-CACHE NATIONAL FOREST, P.O. BOX 68, KAMAS, UT 84036.
In March 1996 the Kamas Ranger District released a scoping document on managing the Lakes Backcountry which was then updated and re-released in May 1997 (see HUPC Newsletter, March/April 1997 and October 1998 for a picture, map and discussion of many of the issues facing the Lakes Backcountry--we are referring to it as the Proposed Mt. Watson Wilderness).
On balance this is a good document and the Kamas Ranger District should be commended.
The premise of the plan is that increasingly heavy backcountry recreational use, including dozens of outfitting and guiding proposals, threaten the recreational experience and biological integrity of 100,000+ acres of the undeveloped backcountry, most of it closed to summertime motorized recreation use. Thus the plan proposes to maintain the nonmotorized nature of the area and acknowledges the area meets the definition of roadless and potential wilderness while zoning the backcountry into the Provo River heavy use zone and the Weber River light use zone. The distinguishing factors would be the Provo River would be managed for group size of 25 beating hearts (human, horse, etc.) and the creation
The plan also proposes numerous additional standards and guidelines including good recreation livestock controls and the closure of all the trails in the roadless area to mountain bikes (this still leaves over 200 miles of trails and rough dirt roads for mt. biking). But it still refuses, unfortunately, to deal with
The district is taking a significant step to deal with outfitting and guiding in a systematic manner by requiring potential outfitters to meet resource goals, assist in environmental education and meet Forest Service mission/resource responsibilities. Need will not be determined simply by an open piece of land and a proposal by an prospective outfitter. While these are laudable steps they do not go far enough.
THE MAJOR PROBLEMS and WHAT YOU SHOULD DO!!
Even though there are problems with the plan it represents a good and visionary plan. Support it-- and suggest a couple of changes:
Thanks so much!