A Look At The South Slope - Focus: Ashley National Forest
With a bit less than a flourish, and following an early meeting we held with George Weldon, the new Ashley National Forest Supervisor, literally weeks after his spring arrival in Vernal (see HUPC LYNX, 6/03),the Ashley National Forest has set upon a hopeful course.
On a very warm 29 September the Ashley Forest Supervisor and some of his staff initiated the first of what we hope will be a long and productive series of regular evening meetings meant to foster meaningful communication, not on specific projects, but on broad contextual discussions. For now, discussions are set for every two months, sort of mimicking the long standing Wasatch-Cache National Forest (WCNF) breakfast meetings, which started in the early 80s! Our first meeting focused on all of the new planning and environmental analysis processes the Forest Service is now using.
Suffice it to say, there was a great deal of tension because these processes are anything but open and, in fact, literally jeopardize the very meaningful discussion we are all so desperately trying to achieve simply because they restrict and exclude public input and involvement. As long as the Forest Service continues along this path, it is setting the future of far more conflict and disputation, not openness and solution. Nonetheless, if interested in joining us in attending either the Ashley or Wasatch forest meetings, let us know. Wild voices are needed and welcomed!
"Sometime after the first of the year," the Ashley National Forest will be releasing the Final EIS and decision on the Fox Lake Reservoir Reconstruction proposal within the High Uintas Wilderness. (See HUPC LYNX, 2/03.) It appears a bad decision will be made allowing the reservoirs to be upgraded and maintained as reservoirs within the High Uintas Wilderness-- in stark contrast to the good decisions made on the Yellowstone and Lake Fork drainages where decisions were made to remove numerous small reservoirs. The integrity of one of the nations largest and premier wildernesses is at stake!
A host of other issues await us on the Ashley, including the Painter Basin grazing draft EIS (see HUPC LYNX 8/03), Trout Slope West timber sale (see HUPC LYNX 8/02), and off road travel restrictions on the Vernal Ranger District.