Sunday, December 21, 2008

Staying in Touch

I've received a number of comments, e-mails,fly shop buddies and phone calls, on ways to get involved with various issues that revolve around our treasured resources. The Provo River development prompting the most recent inquiries. Over the years, I've written about issues here, but never have really tried to communicate or manage any actions through my Blog. After giving it some thought, I'm going to post issues and actions here, starting with our most recent endeavor to see if that is of help and allows those who are concerned to participate.

Starting with this years upcoming legislature, we have a significant issue that we are already involved in. I wrote earlier about the state Supreme Courts ruling on stream access. Several representative are drafting a bill that potentially will eliminate this recent ruling and possibly block off access to streams we already have. I warned of this in an earlier Blog, "Just Because we have the Right", August 26, 2008.
At the moment, there is no language written on this piece of legislation, but from meetings held over the past weeks, we have little support at a state level. Several concerned lobbyist have joined our efforts. At the first of the year Rep. Ferry, who will champion this bill should it go forward, has granted us a meeting. We are hopeful that we can make some inroads at this early juncture to avoid any confrontations and help draft a bill that is agreeable to anglers. For now we are encouraged by his offer.

In the infancy of this endeavor, we are looking for anyone who may know a friendly legislator. Once we get a feel for the language, or ideally, have a copy of the bill, we're going to need all the friends we can get. This won't be an easy battle, should the bill be drafted with the language we are anticipating.

If you know any one on the hill who can lend their support, this would be a big step. Our issues here are not so much the right to fish or access as much as the potential economic impact reduced access will have on the states angling revenues, revenues that have declined steadily over the years. If you would like to reach me and not share your comments with others who read my Blog, please feel free to contact me at:

We have another meeting before the year ends. I'll post updates or any new developments as they occur. Thanks to those who have gotten involved and those expressing and those wanting to help preserve those few precious resources we rely upon to cast a fly with hopes of catching a trout or two. As theyears pass, and with the current economy we are going to have our hands full.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Provo River Avoids Development

The Provo River is arguably one of the nation’s best fisheries. With recent work completed between Jordanelle and Deer Creek reservoirs it’s even better. This past week a decision to continue to put these resources recreational and wildlife values before those who would develop it was an significant.

Unbeknownst to many an application to rezone private lands on the Lower Provo River was put before Wasatch County Council (WCC). Should this request have been approved it would permit twenty residential units to be built. Four of those units would lie within the rivers riparian corridor. Even more critical, the rezoning change would open the door for other landowners in the canyon to develop additional properties.

Obviously given the sensitive nature of this resource, there was a lot at stake. As an angler, the trout fishing and those recreational values associated with it are significant. The wildlife values that this canyon supports are critical. Such a development, given its scope, would definitely impact these. Then there is water quality. Simply, it’s the lifeblood of all that is living.

After the first of two public hearings, the request was denied, but only due to the fact that the Wasatch County Planning Commission didn’t have enough members present. Those in attendance voted in favor of the rezoning request 3/2. A 4th favorable vote was needed to make the motion.

A second hearing for public comment was held before the Wasatch County Council, who would make the final decision. I entered this meeting with not much optimism given the Planning Commissions lean. I was even less optimistic given the lack of opposition that spoke before the Council; three of us all totaled. Given what was at stake it was disheartening to see a virtual no-show from the public and those who derive their livelihoods from this resource. Granted there were a number of apposing e-mails received by the Council and a few more in attendance at the first public meeting, but warm bodies in front of this Council would have carried much more weight.

I was relieved and surprised to learn, given the circumstances, of the Wasatch County Council’s judgment to deny the landowners request this past week. Their decision showed great vision. Anglers owe this group a debt of gratitude for efforts and judgment regarding this incredible resource. Their pronouncement will have a positive impact on the continued health of this valuable resource. Should it have gone the other way few would have noticed until the backhoes and bulldozers arrived.