Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Editorial: Shared management plan for San Rafael Swell area worth study

The San Rafael Swell near Goblin Valley State Park is — dare we say it — worthy of a national monument.That's not to say the president should declare one, but it is an acknowledgement that the Temple Mountain area of the Swell is one of the most spectacular areas in Utah's redrock country. It's also a nod to the fact that the area has been living on borrowed time and needs more protection. As recreation grows throughout southern Utah, areas like Temple Mountain have seen the impact of visitors grow with it. New campsites and ATV trails continue to emerge, leading to a decline in the quality of landscape for those visiting. That is why an effort by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to consider a new way of managing the Temple Mountain area is welcome. And the direction BLM is headed should help get Utah political leaders' support — in large part because it could be the state and Emery County handling much of the federal-lands management. The model is one county away near Moab. Created in 1995, the Sand Flats Recreation Area is home to the legendary Slickrock and Porcupine Rim mountain bike trails, as well as more than 40 miles of Jeep trails. It's situated between wilderness study areas, national parks and the LaSal Mountains, and it receives almost 150,000 visitors each year. There are two aspects of Sand Flats that are pertinent to Temple Mountain. First, it is BLM land managed in a partnership with Grand County. Second, visitors must pay a fee that goes to maintain and improve recreational infrastructure...more

No comments: