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Action Alerts - June, 1999

Dear Good HUPC Members!

Two important issues face the Uintas. It will be your wild voice that speaks for those nonhuman critters that depend upon a wild Uintas for survival. So please step forward and speak with candor and vigor!

ROADLESS AREA COMMENTS NEEDED.

The Wasatch National Forest is asking for comments on roadless areas on the Uintas by JUNE 7! as part of the forest planning process. Send comments to: Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Revision Team, 8236 Federal Bldg, 125 S. State St., SLC, UT  84138.

The Wasatch is holding a series of roadless area open house/meetings and asking for comments on roadless areas on the Uintas by June 7 and the rest of the forest by June 14. Why? We don't have a clue! Roadless area meetings/open houses will take place concurrent with the Evanston Travel Plan meeting (see below) in Evanston, 6/1, at the Train Depot on famous Front Street and Depot Square, 4-7 PM and Kamas, 6/8, Summit County Building, 110 North Main, 4-7 PM. Ironically, the Forest Service wants comments on the Uintas before the Kamas open house meeting where we can look at the maps!! Other roadless meetings will be in SLC, June 3, City-County Building (451 S. State St.), Cannon Room, and in Logan on June 10, at the Ranger District office, 1500 E. Hwy 89.

The pertinent facts are obvious and known to all of you. But it is here where your voice must sing, howl, warble, growl, bugle, hoot, grunt--whatever it takes--the praise, the panoply, of the wild Uintas. THIS MATTERS!

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

The Lakes Roadless Area (#419005), always refer to it as the proposed Mt. Watson Wilderness, is 122,233 acres in size. Other than the contiguous roadless lands around the High Uintas Wilderness (HUW) it is probably the largest roadless area on Utah's National Forests. It is ecologically intact and harbors high natural values. Remoteness and solitude are easily achievable. It is the home of the most wild species in Utah and is drained by Utah's major rivers with no major resource conflicts (see HUPC Review, April '97, Oct. '98) with the exception of a growing number of snowmobilers which threaten the very essence of the wintertime silence and solitude, not to mention, mt. lion, pine marten, boreal owl, and lynx

The High Uintas Roadless Area (#419022) consists of 99,560 acres on the Wasatch National Forest's North Slope of the Uintas. This acreage does not include at least that much more on the Ashley National Forest making it by far the largest roadless area in Utah and one of the largest in the Intermountain West. The Uintas are the penultimate of wildness--rich in wildlife, carnivores, immense size, naturalness, ecological intactness and when looked at as a whole system, including the Ashley roadless areas and the already extant HUW, there exists almost 700,000 acres of wild land. When looking at the Lakes backcountry (proposed Mt. Watson Wilderness) ,which is simply across the street form the main block of the Uintas, we are looking at a system of well over 800,000 acres! The Uintas harbor the largest contiguous coniferous forest in the Utah and the Intermountain West as well as the most true and expansive alpine flora in Utah the Intermountain West. It is the best of the best! (See HUPC Review, No. 1, January 1997) So say so with vigor! Attend an open house. Remember, Comments are due by June 7: Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Revision Team, 8236 Federal Bldg, 125 S. State St., SLC, UT   84138.

EVANSTON/MT VIEW TRAVEL PLAN comments due JUNE 15!

The Wasatch National Forest has released the scoping proposal for the travel plan. This is the country that runs east-west cross the North Slope of the Uintas, contiguous with the HUW. While there are numerous issues dealing with this travel plan there are three that need a clear and concise wild voice.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:
  1. The Forest Service has proposed to close to all vehicles the Bear River/Smiths Fork Trail (Trail 8091) heading west from the East Fork Blacks Fork to the Bear River. This includes closing the West Fork Blacks Fork road at the trailhead, preventing incursion into the roadless landscape!! We have been pushing for this closure for over a decade to protect soil,watershed, critically important wildlife habitat--the roadless area itself. The entire 10 miles of trail is within the roadless area adjacent to the HUW. ORVers will wail about this closure and if we don't passionately participate this long awaited closure will be in jeopardy.
  2. Unbelievably,the Forest Service has opened the high country on the Middle Fork of the Blacks Fork and the Cataract Basin between the West Fork of the Blacks Fork and the East Fork of the Bear River to snowmobile use. Despite a long problem with snowmobilers roaring all over the North Slope of the HUW, both of these areas are adjacent to the High Uintas Wilderness. The answer? Close to snowmobile use all of the roadless lands adjacent to the HUW. It is true snowmobilers will violate the law even with these closures. But this is the correct management approach to take and over time will become the barrier intended. It is the only way to protect the wildness of the Uintas. There remain tens of thousands of acres of snowmobile playground on the district.
  3. Support the snowmobile closures on the northern portion of the district due to wildlife winter ranges. Comments are due by June 15 at the Evanston Ranger District, 1565 Hwy 150 So., Suite A, P.O. Box 1880, Evanston, WY  82931. Meetings/open houses will be held on June 1 in Evanston at the Train Depot on famous Front Street and Depot Square, 4-7 PM; 6/3, Mt. View; 6/8, Kamas, Summit County Building, 110 North Main, 4-7 PM:  6/9, Ogden, Weber County Library Auditorium, 2464 Jefferson Ave., 4-7 PM; and 6/10, Green River, WY.

Thank you so much!


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