Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Green River Development

Back in the fall, I learned of a proposed Lodge potentially being built on the only piece of land that is not controlled by the Forest Service with the Green River corridor. This property is controlled by SITLA (School Institutional Trust Lands). Their sole purpose is to maximize the profitability of lands they control. They do this with very little regard to the impacts their practices have on wildlife or recreational values. Should this come to fruition, this Lodge will serve only a few of the corridor's privileged clients, yet it’s impact and presence will effect many.

Dagett County Commissioners have supported this project believing that it will help increase their tax base. Given the potential impacts as perceived by the public and users of this incredible resource, I can’t help but believe that what few dollars they receive from this development will be offset by those who are deterred by further development and use within an already congested corridor. This doesn’t take into consideration pressures from the developer to provide services that others enjoy within the county.

The project as presented by Spinner Fall Guide Service and their clients, who represent timber interests, would encompass a main lodge and ten to twelve individual cabins to house the lodge's clients. This is just the preliminary development. As indicated by the Executive Director of SITLA there are opportunities for further development.

The Green is an amazing resource. Without a doubt it is one of the finest and most beautiful trout fisheries in the country. At times, like any fishery of its caliber, it gets crowded. This does not go without notice and publicity. Should this Lodge be built it will only add to the congestion and perception that has lead to a decline in visitors to this river.

More importantly this piece of land, a little less than 400 acres, is critical habitat for wildlife. The Division of Wildlife Resources has tried to sequester a deal with SITLA on this property for years recognizing the potential for development and that potential to disrupt and impact wildlife and fisheries. We know for fact that all and any offers have been denied.

SITLA has options. To date they have been unwavering in their efforts. To see this development go through given the impact it will have on all users and wildlife would set an irreversible precedence. At the moment there are no public or private developments within this pristine 20 mile corridor, a unique and priceless rarity this day and age. Although the developer says their project will have little impact on the area, how could it not, especially during the construction phase of the project?


Wylie Thomas said...

I liked your comments in last Saturday's Tribune article.

The Green River is my Graceland, so it hurts when I see whats happening there. I was there over memorial weekend and saw all the backhoes digging at the banks on both sides of the river on the first and second ramps at little hole. Putting some kind of pipping in it looked like.

It was odd to be fishing there and hear the beep, beep, beep of work trucks backing up.

Minimal impact my @$$!

It's kind of like when a new neighbor moves in to a neighbor hood and paints their house some awful color. What the heck are you supposed to do?

Thanks for all you do to protect our waters, Steve. Im becoming a big fan of what you're doing.


Steve Schmidt said...

Wylie; Tomorrow is a big day. We have to potential buyers that are working independently but together for the same cause. Keep your fingers crossed. Thanks for the nice comments. They are appreciated.

F_H&A said...

Are these private interests willing to purchase the land and establish legal protections from development?? They are competing interests to Timber group I suspect, but what does any privatization of previously public lands mean for the future of it? Isn't this our more general goal. To preserve from all private interests for the sake of the whole? This is a deep and compelling concern.