UINTAS ISSUES FORUM: KAMAS TOWN HALL, JANUARY 9, l999
Back in September the Wasatch National Forest initiated the first of a series of meetings now referred to as the Uintas Issues Forum. We put together a short alert to all HUPCers, explaining this effort came about as a result, in part, of a number of discussions between the forest and HUPC and in part by the desire of the forest to elevate the discussion surrounding the crucial issues facing the Uintas. The first meeting in September was devoted to the upcoming forest plan roadless review. While it was a productive meeting there was much left to discuss. So a second meeting was scheduled for the end of October. It was much less productive with a new set of off road vehicle advocates present and a strong desire by many of those to simply argue not about the content of forest planning, wilderness or other uses of the Uintas, but the very concept of planning and resource allocation.
The Uintas Issues Forum was never intended to set policy, management guidance or act as public input to specific issues-- at least not on the short term. The intent was to elevate, sophisticate, refine the discussion-- to engage a model of collaborative learning. That is of value and could direct the participants and the Forest Service to a discussion of how and what the Uintas should be-- "...a mountain defined by the creation of life...," as noted in our vision statement, "... or one defined by the production of resources...."
Thus, in spite of the setback at the October meeting, a third meeting was scheduled for January 9. All of the meetings will be held in the Kamas Town Hall. The topic will be the big W word-- wilderness. There will be a few short presentations about the Wilderness Act, the Utah Wilderness Act and then an open collaborative discussion about the values of wilderness and personal reactions to the very concept. It would be wonderful to have a roomful of High Uintas Preservation Council members there to express those deeply held personal values.