National Forest officials seek input
Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest (UWCNF) officials are knocking on wood the public will comment on current project proposals, three of which are in the Kamas Ranger District.
The UWCNF Resource Advisory Committee will review the proposals at 3 p.m. Sept. 26 at the UWCNF Supervisor’s office at 857 West South Jordan Parkway in South Jordan via conference call.
"The public can come in and sit with us as we go through the process. And if they have comments they’d like to make about any of those projects, than this is an opportunity for them to participate in the process," UWCNF spokeswoman Loyal Clark said.
The proposed projects have been submitted for Title II funding, which finances work such as road and trail maintenance, watershed restoration and invasive weed removal.
"The funding gives us an opportunity to do some very valuable and needed work on the National Forests, so it’s a great opportunity for the public to be involved in that part of the process," Clark said.
There is a proposal for the Kamas Ranger District to fund five youth for the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC). The YCC works on a variety of projects each summer.
The program has been running annually but, if approved, this is the second year it will be funded with Title II money.
The YCC is a six- to eight-week summer program for high school students. Last year, two Youth Conservation Corps groups of five worked on trail maintenance, rehabilitating trail routes, building fences and restoring fish habitat.
"It just gives them really good exposure to the Forest Service to see if they may be interested in a career with the agency," Clark said. "So we try to incorporate different types of projects into their work program. We’ve had some Forest Service employees who have actually begun their career with the Youth Conservation Corps so it’s really kind of cool."
Another project is in the Willow Creek Drainage, where 20 miles of trail need to be repaired and brushed out. The third project is for noxious weed removal.
"We have a lot of invasive species that are starting to crowd out the native vegetation that we have in the district there," Clark said. "With this project, we can actually use paid crews or volunteers that can go out and pull weeds like thistle before they go to seed. We also have some areas where we go in and actually spray the weeds and treat them that way to get rid of them."
However, getting public interest and participation in Forest Service projects and issues has been an uphill battle.
"This Resource Advisory Committee has been together for about a year," Clark said. "And over the course of a year, we’ve only had three people attend meetings that have been open to the public. We try to get the word out as far and wide as we can but it’s difficult to reach the masses if they are not associated with a group or a network, or following Forest Service issues. It’s just tough to get the word out there."
If the Resource Advisory Committee recommends the proposed Kamas Ranger District projects, plans for the projects won’t be quite out of the woods, as the UWCNF supervisor will then have the final word.
More information can be found at http://www.fs.usda.gov/uwcnf . Residents interested in participating can contact the Forest Service office at 801-999.2103.
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