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Summit County Council Addressing Issues In National Forest

USFWS - Pacific Region

The Summit County Council have a couple of items on their plate, related to the National Forest in the High Uintas.

The county council is still considering a request from the Governor's office to endorse a Utah-specific plan to manage forest areas in the state. Council Chairwoman Kim Carson said they're still concerned about language that might have them supporting more development in the forest.

Carson and the county staff met last week with the governor's Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office (PLIPCO)

“We were most concerned with some of the definitions that they provided for us to classify our roadless areas." Carson explained, "If it was other than what it is now, and they had a designation for that called ‘primitive’. Then they had some steps above that and there were four different definitions. We felt there were some things in the next step-up that—although we would like to provide some opportunities to go in and do some forest restoration and possible timber harvesting to reduce fire fuels and create enhanced watershed areas—they had some language regarding mineral lease. We weren’t sure if that meant new mineral lease opportunities which we wouldn’t support. We’re looking at that carefully, but they are going to be providing us with some additional definitions.”

In their regular agenda this week, the council also approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the Forest Service.

“Well they’re doing some work in the state with the forest service, looking at Sage Grouse habitat." Carson continued, "We did feel like, even though we don’t have a lot of area within our forest service boundaries that are great Sage Grouse habitat, we do have some very successful acts within the county as a whole. We just decided that we’d like to have a seat at the table to monitor the discussions and have input. This was really just a form document that all participants and cooperating agencies have to complete. Again, it just gives us a seat at the table during those discussions and process.”

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