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HIGH UINTAS PRESERVATION COUNCIL ALERT, 8/2000 SNOWMOBILE OUTFITTER GUIDE PERMIT PROJECT

Dear HUPC'ers

The Kamas and Evanston Ranger Districts are proposing to allow a permit for 800 service-days of outfitter/guide snowmobiling on the Mirror Lake Highway, around and on Mirror Lake and off-road in the Whitney Reservoir. Even though these areas are currently open to snowmobiles, the outfitter guide permit will impact the environment and other users.

YOUR COMMENTS ON THIS PERMIT SHOULD BE DIRECTED TO JANE COTTRELL, DISTRICT RANGER, P.O. BOX 68, KAMAS, UTAH 84036 OR EMAIL to jcottrell@fs.fed.us. DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS IS SEPTEMBER 3!

The EA for this project is based on the bad assumption that allowing outfitter/guiding will not increase snowmobile use, and therefore doesn't address any of the inherent problems with snowmobiles near roadless areas, the High Uintas Wilderness, and lynx habitat. Regardless of the stated assumption that snowmobile use will not increase because of the permit, issuing the permit implies that the Kamas District is promoting snowmobiling and encouraging more use by plowing parking lots, possibly enlarging parking lots, and encouraging additional parking off the Forest Service. In addition to these concerns, the EA states that the permit for outfitter/guiding is needed to reduce illegal outfitter/guiding. In other words, they are doing it anyway, so let's make it legal and then we don't have to enforce the current regulations!

Please take a few moments to comment on this proposal and keep commercial interests out of the Uintas. Your comments must be sent to the above address by SEPTEMBER 3.

Key points to make:

  • The EA does not demonstrate a public need for this proposal.
  • The EA is full of unsubstantiated "positive" effects of guiding: illegal guiding will be reduced, users will be educated in proper use and etiquette of snowmobiling, rural economic development will occur. Demand documentation of these claims for the public and the district ranger before a decision can be made. Right now, the decision would be based on a lot of assumptions and NO FACTS!
  • The EA contains no economic analysis: how much do rural communities benefit, how much does preparation of this EA and administration of the permit cost, and how does that compare to the questionable benefit of having the parking lot plowed and the bathrooms cleaned?
  • Oppose outfitter/guiding as an unneeded commercial use of the Uintas!

Thanks for your help!

Dick Carter High Uintas Preservation Council P.O. Box 72 Hyrum, UT 84319 435-245-6747


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