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Wild and Scenic River Suitability Study for National Forest System Lands in Utah
Comments on Wild and Scenic River suitability needed by 30 June 2007.

The Forest Service and the State of Utah are preparing a draft and final legislative environmental impact statement (LEIS) to complete the process for giving consideration to potential national wild, scenic, and recreational river areas on the National Forests in Utah under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (W&SRA). The Forest Service has already evaluated river segments for eligibility under the W&SRA and assigned a classification of wild, scenic or recreational based on the level of development and access along the river corridor (see HUPC LYNX 8/98,10/99, 8/04, 8/05, 2/06).

The Forest Service has prepared a detailed web site on this process at:
http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/rivers.

The purpose of this LEIS is to determine which eligible river segments are suitable for inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Suitability is another way of saying that an eligible river should or should not be designated as a Wild (W), Scenic (S) or Recreational (R) river under the W&SRA. In other words, the W&SRA consists of a two tiered process of determining eligibility, completed, and then suitability, just initiated. Congress makes the final decision on rivers included in the Wild and Scenic Rivers System (W&SRS).

Suitability factors include, for example, land ownership (federal/nonfederal/Tribal), reasonably foreseeable potential uses of the land and water that would be enhanced, foreclosed, or curtailed if the area were included in the W&SRS (water resources development or irrigation, etc.) and support or opposition to designation.

Obviously a plethora of wild voices are essential in this first scoping process!

Public open houses, 4-8PM, will be held around Utah in May and early June. A few of note are:

  • Logan, 5/22, Bear River Association of Governments Conference Room, 170 N Main, Logan.
  • Vernal, 5/24, Western Park Convention Center, 302 E. 200 S.
  • Heber, 5/29, Wasatch County Senior Center, 465 E.1200 S.
  • SLC, 6/7, Salt Lake City Library, 210 E 400 S, SLC.

You can find the entire schedule at: http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/rivers.

The tables below show the eligible river segments proposed as W, S or R and the approximate miles of each segment. Rivers in or partially in the High Uintas Wilderness are noted as (HUW) and are all proposed as W. See http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/rivers for more details.

Ashley National Forest Eligible Rivers

  • Middle Main Sheep Creek(R) 5
  • Lower Main Sheep Creek(R) 4
  • Carter Creek(S) 16
  • Cart Creek Proper(S) 10
  • Green River(S) 13
  • Pipe Creek 6 (S)
  • Upper Whiterocks River(S) 4
  • West Fork Whiterocks River(S) 11
  • Reader Creek(S) 6
  • East Fork Whiterocks River(S) 4
  • Middle Whiterocks River(W) 8
  • Lower Dry Fork Creek(R) 7
  • South Fork Ashley Creek(S) 15
  • Black Canyon(W) 10
  • Ashley Gorge Creek(W) 10
  • Upper Rock Creek 21 (HUW)
  • West Fork Rock Creek, incl Fish Creek 13 (HUW)
  • Fall Creek 6 (HUW)
  • Oweep Creek 20 (HUW)
  • Upper Lake Fork River, incl. Ottoson & East Basin Creeks 35(HUW)
  • Upper Yellowstone Creek 33 (HUW)
  • Garfield Creek 17 (HUW)
  • Shale Creek and Tributaries 12 (HUW)
  • Upper Uinta River, incl. Gilbert Creek, Center Fork & Painter Draw 40 (HUW)

24 river segments, 326 miles

Wasatch-Cache National Forest (WCNF) Eligible Rivers (Uinta Mts.)

  • Henry’s Fork 8 (HUW)
  • West Fork Beaver Creek(W-S) 9 (HUW)
  • Middle Fork Beaver Creek(W-S) 10 (HUW)
  • Thompson Creek 5 (HUW)
  • West Fork Blacks Fork(W-S) 11 (HUW)
  • East Fork Blacks Fork 10 (HUW)
  • Little East Fork 9 (HUW)
  • Blacks Fork(R) 3
  • West Fork Smiths Fork 15(S)
  • East Fork Smiths Fork 12 (HUW)
  • Hayden Fork(R) 8
  • Stillwater Fork(W-S) 12 (HUW)
  • Ostler Fork 4 (HUW)
  • Left, Right, and East Forks Bear River 13 (HUW)
  • Boundary Creek(W) 4
  • Main Fork Weber River(S) 6
  • Middle Fork Weber River(W) 6
  • Beaver Creek(R) 6
  • Provo River(R) 20

19 river segments, 161 miles

There are a total of 43 river segments on the Uintas totaling 487 miles which are eligible for inclusion in the W&SRS, by far the most significant region in UT!

Other WCNF River Segments

  • High Creek 7
  • Left Hand Fork Blacksmiths Fork 15
    Logan River 7
  • Logan River 19
  • Beaver Creek 3
  • White Pine Creek 6
  • Temple Fork 6
  • Spawn Creek 4
  • Bunchgrass Creek 5
  • Little Bear Creek 1
  • Left F. So. F.Ogden River 5
  • Willard Creek 4
  • Red Butte Creek 3
  • Little Cottonwood Creek 10

We encourage you to write the Forest Service and support all of these High Uintas rivers as suitable. They all have remarkable river values and none have any tangible suitability conflicts! In particular, the non-wilderness rivers need to be mentioned by name because they have no present protection whereas wilderness rivers are already largely protected because of wilderness designation!
Of most concern are:

  • Upper, West, East Fork and Middle Whiterocks River(S-W)27m -Open, alpine and subalpine, lush riparian areas, adjacent to HUW.
  • Reader Creek(S)6m -Spruce and fir forests, willow riparian area, adjacent to HUW.
  • South Fork Ashley Creek(S)15m -Alpine, dense forests, meadows, willows and lush riparian.
  • Black Canyon(W)10m -Large meadow to inaccessible deep canyon, conifers to cottonwoods.
  • Ashley Gorge Creek(W)10m -Deep, wild canyon, willows, cottonwoods, mid-elevation conifers.
  • Green River(S)13m -Deep canyon, bighorn sheep, cottonwoods, trout fishing, big rapids.
  • Carter Creek(S)16m -Lush willow riparian area, mid-elevation conifer forest.
  • Cart Creek(S)10m -Deep canyon, dense forests down to sage slopes
  • Boundary Creek(W)4m -Dense old growth forest, cutthroat trout. Adjacent to HUW.
  • Main Fork Weber River & Middle Fork Weber(S-W)12m -Deep canyons, dense forest, slickrock falls, heart of the Lakes Roadless area.

Let your WILD VOICE SING. Attend an open house, send your comments to the Forest Service by 30 June:
Catherine Kahlow
USFS, WSR Team Leader
PO Box 68
Kamas, UT 84036.
or
by email: r4_utah_rivers@fs.fed.us


Dick Carter
High Uintas Preservation Council
PO Box 72
Hyrum, UT 84319
hupc.org

Imagine a mountain defined by the creation of life, not the production of resources.


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