Thursday, July 06, 2006

Where Everyone Stands

With the 4th of July weekend it’s been difficult to get some of the issues still on the docket resolved. At this point there are two primary players who are willing to partner with the DWR to purchase the SITLA parcel. SITLA met with their board today to discuss options available to them at this point before moving forward. We are anxious to here what they have to say.

In our recent discussions with Kevin Carter he appears to be willing to take the next step and consider a purchase agreement of some kind. However, to my understanding, only those who have been involved in the process and have made offers can participate. The Division, regardless of what it has offered in the past, can participate since they own the grazing rights to the land. This would be good news but, it doesn't mean we are out of the woods yet.

Since my last Blog the Stonefly Society, one of the driving forces behind this controversy, has paid to have the parcel appraised. This isn’t an easy process given the numerous complexities involved, access being the most significant of these. Yet, at this juncture we feel we have a fairly reasonable assessment of the properties value. This information will help greatly if the DWR is given the opportunity to make an offer for purchase.

As mentioned there are numerous complexities and issues. If by chance, and there is still a chance, that Flint Timber and Spinnerfall be awarded the lease, there are significant issues that need to be resolved: access and environmental impacts being the most noteworthy.

It’s still questionable whether the road enters SITLA’s land. If the DWR sticks to their guns then they have a legal argument here that would still need clarification since the access road passes directly through the middle of their adjacent parcel. Old plot maps indicate that this road ends 400' short of the SITLA parcel. Then there is the cost of improving this road and the issues surround that development.

Power is another issue. It’s unlikely that those federal entities that border this property would grant the passing of power lines through their turf. Therefore, it’s likely that generators would have to be used to power the lodge and accompanying buildings. The developers say that the facilities would have little impact on the area, visibly or audibly. During the construction phase and after its completion with no power I can only imagine the audible effects to wildlife and users of the canyon. It's bad enough across the way. Surround sound would do little to improve matters in this already congested area.

One of the access issues that has not been brought to the forefront is the road from the south side and it's impact to the shops and services on the north side of the corridor. Should this project go through the traffic to the south side of the river would increase significantly. Not only would you have the development, but you would see an increase in the number of users on this side of the river. This would only add to an already congested area. It would also decrease the traffic on the other side of the corridor where all of the areas services are located. It may not be a huge number, but such impacts are not easily made up. Having just gone through this with Cabelas, I know first hand.

The Daggett County Commissioners feel that this development would create some positive economic impact, however those who could now easily access the river corridor through the other side, should access be grated, would have little need to venture to the north side of the river nor use any of those facilities that rely upon the rivers visitors for their revenue. Not to mention the impact to the overall area, which we believe would only deter overall visitation to this great river. Elevated use over the years and that national perception has already led to some adversity regarding the experience anglers are having on the Green.

The Commissioners are also concerned about the loss of tax revenues to Daggett County should this parcel fall into DWR’s hands. Its common practice for the Division to pay such taxes, therefore this concern can be easily negated. These guys could use all the letters you could send. We need to get them on board and at the moment they are waffling:

The Green River Corridor is unique in it's absence of development at this point. That fact is one of several reasons that makes this fishery so spectacular. If you fish around the west at all, you know that there are few riversof such caliber that have no private development: Madison, Henry's Fork, Yellowstone, South Fork; its a long list. Should this parcel be developed, we would loose forever one of the few remaining great fisheries absent of private development.

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