WE WANT OUR RIVERS WILD!
YOUR VOICE IS NEEDED on the Wild and Scenic River Suitability Study for National Forest System Lands in Utah.
Comments on Wild and Scenic River suitability are due June 30.
The Forest Service, along with the State of Utah, has entered a process to prepare 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 http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/rivers that describes the process.
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. The Salt Lake City meeting takes place June 7 at the City Library, 210 E. 400 S.
You can find the entire schedule on the web site listed in the column on the left.
The details 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 Wild. For more details, see http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/rivers.
Ashley National Forest Eligible Rivers
24 river segments, 326 miles
Wasatch-Cache National Forest (WCNF) Eligible Rivers (Uinta Mts.)
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
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:
LET YOUR WILD VOICE SING! Attend an open house and by JUNE 30 send your comments to: