Burr Trail new pavement

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JulieKT

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I don't live in Garfield County, but close enough that this bleeds over. Garfield County's commissioners would like to pave or at least keep open every single road (actual road or not) in their county and everywhere else too. This is an old battle that unfortunately is being given renewed steam by the current federal administration. The Garfield County "leaders" are also known for closed-door meetings with high-up officials, a la the recently departed Interior Secretary, to further their goals of trying to bring back mining, coal, and expand the rampant grazing of cattle everywhere. Leland Pollock is well-known for not mincing words. In other words, welcome to the wild west, where the leadership seemingly would like to be above the law.

Sure, we've got more people coming to these places, and they get lost and hurt and stuck all the time. However, that does not mean we should pave every single road, or even a majority of them. I've just started to re-read Desert Solitaire again, so my dander was already up.

I could go on, but this is a public forum. Zipping it for now.
 

Janice

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I don't live in Garfield County, but close enough that this bleeds over. Garfield County's commissioners would like to pave or at least keep open every single road (actual road or not) in their county and everywhere else too. This is an old battle that unfortunately is being given renewed steam by the current federal administration. The Garfield County "leaders" are also known for closed-door meetings with high-up officials, a la the recently departed Interior Secretary, to further their goals of trying to bring back mining, coal, and expand the rampant grazing of cattle everywhere. Leland Pollock is well-known for not mincing words. In other words, welcome to the wild west, where the leadership seemingly would like to be above the law.

Sure, we've got more people coming to these places, and they get lost and hurt and stuck all the time. However, that does not mean we should pave every single road, or even a majority of them. I've just started to re-read Desert Solitaire again, so my dander was already up.

I could go on, but this is a public forum. Zipping it for now.
Thanks for all this helpful information. Politics can clearly affect our wilderness experiences...
 

JulieKT

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I'm very sad about this, but in reality, it's mostly paved anyway. What scares me the most is what they pave next, specifically Hole-in-the-Rock...
Yes, but paving more of the Burr Trail can be seen as a slippery slope kind of thing that leads directly to more laser focus on paving HITRR and similar. There were some good comments on the Trib article about seeing what happens now on Burr Trail with, say, over-sized motorhomes attempting to crawl down past where they should. Humans being human, they will zoom in droves to where perhaps they should not.

I plan to head out there later this week to check out what it looks like now. (Not in a motorhome, lol!) Haven't been down there in a while anyway and would like to get out and about. Helping a friend in Boulder move so will be in the area anyway. Sounds like it's just chip-sealed right now, which may not exactly be permanent. But I'm betting someone in GC will be thrilled to provide more local jobs in order to keep the road even more maintained. That thing was fine the way it was. They kept it graded, same as they do with HITRR.
 

Nick

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Yes, but paving more of the Burr Trail can be seen as a slippery slope kind of thing that leads directly to more laser focus on paving HITRR and similar.
Agreed, and that's exactly my point. Finishing off those last few miles itself isn't that big of a deal, IMO, it's where it goes next. And the heavier traffic, RV's, etc. is definitely a big concern.
 

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JulieKT

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Agreed, and that's exactly my point. Finishing off those last few miles itself isn't that big of a deal, IMO, it's where it goes next. And the heavier traffic, RV's, etc. is definitely a big concern.
Gotcha. And agreed. What's most irking about it is the under-the-cover-of-night way this was done by the BLM and the county. Per usual.
 

Janice

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@Janice, while this HCN article isn't specifically about the road topic, it adds more political info on the area if you're interested. Excellent read.
Oh my - just read the article. I think I need "sad" and "angry" emojis instead of just clicking on "like." I don't live nearby but care very much about these public lands. I wish it were mandatory for policy makers to spend time hiking and camping out there before making decisions...
 

JulieKT

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Oh my - just read the article. I think I need "sad" and "angry" emojis instead of just clicking on "like." I don't live nearby but care very much about these public lands. I wish it were mandatory for policy makers to spend time hiking and camping out there before making decisions...
One of the major issues is that policy-makers in Utah are often not driven by an appreciation for the land merely for the sake of the land. They instead are driven by economic interests and a historical urge/mandate to utilize the natural resources solely for the use of humans, without thoroughly considering (or, perhaps, even caring about) the long-term impacts of such uses. That clearly has created quite a mess, and strife, in many areas such as southern Utah.

As for local policy-makers, a lot of them actually have spent a lifetime hiking and/or camping in their local area, but in general most of them were also doing that for economic reasons. Tending to cattle, mining, that sort of thing. There tends to be a fascinating disconnect between local and "outsider" perspectives on how land should be "used." I know of some local people in my county who had extremely little exposure to the natural beauty of the area while growing up. That of course is a generalization, and it is not meant to paint all locals as being evil or idiots. (Just a few of them. Heh.) Of course, very many if not most locals also deeply love their surrounding landscape, but they often tend to view it through a very different lens than those "outsiders" who come to these places and marvel at them.
 

Janice

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One of the major issues is that policy-makers in Utah are often not driven by an appreciation for the land merely for the sake of the land. They instead are driven by economic interests and a historical urge/mandate to utilize the natural resources solely for the use of humans, without thoroughly considering (or, perhaps, even caring about) the long-term impacts of such uses. That clearly has created quite a mess, and strife, in many areas such as southern Utah.

As for local policy-makers, a lot of them actually have spent a lifetime hiking and/or camping in their local area, but in general most of them were also doing that for economic reasons. Tending to cattle, mining, that sort of thing. There tends to be a fascinating disconnect between local and "outsider" perspectives on how land should be "used." I know of some local people in my county who had extremely little exposure to the natural beauty of the area while growing up. That of course is a generalization, and it is not meant to paint all locals as being evil or idiots. (Just a few of them. Heh.) Of course, very many if not most locals also deeply love their surrounding landscape, but they often tend to view it through a very different lens than those "outsiders" who come to these places and marvel at them.
This all makes lots of sense. I understand that there are many competing interests, particularly for locals. I guess I was thinking about policy makers at the top (Secretary of Interior, etc.) needing to spend time outside...
 

fossana

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@JulieKT Many of the more conservative folks also recreate on public lands for hunting, fishing, etc and there is bipartisan support for conservation in some form. Another thing that plays into their opposition to things like monument designation (which in UT's case grandfathered in mining and grazing), is the attitude that "outsiders" (an African American President, Native Americans, environmental groups, Californians, etc.) shouldn't tell them what to do. You'll see this echoed in the sentiment of UT CD1's Rob Bishop (of Recapture Canyon ATV protest infamy) in his support of the recent public lands bill, which created new wilderness designation in UT.
 

Wanderlust073

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the attitude that "outsiders" (an African American President, Native Americans, ....) shouldn't tell them what to do. .
A shared resource should only be used in the way that you think it should be, and those who disagree are morally bankrupt racists. Interesting perspective.

What's the difference if a fossil-fuel guzzling 4x4 dragging a trailer craps up the environment via a dirt road or a paved road? Lowers the bar of entry? Makes it accessible to those who can't afford expensive 'camping' toys?

You guys pick strange hills to die on.
 

fossana

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Some attitudes here in UT (and the SW in general) are very much rooted in racism, unfortunately. Look at the revisionist history around the Mountain Meadows Massacre and attempts to put the blame on Native Americans. Let's say that the Native American burial sites on Cedar Mesa were instead LDS pioneer graves, do you think they would be looted? The concept of Manifest Destiny was founded on a racist paradigm, and those attitudes continue today.

St George and vicinity continue to promote its ties to the Confederacy with the Dixie moniker. As late as the 1990s Dixie State University held mock slave auctions on campus, and until 2012 had a Confederate statue on campus. I got to listen to all sorts of racist comments while doing months of voter registration before the 2018 election, like how one GOP voter refused to support GOP senator Orrin Hatch b/c "he was too friendly with the black President".
 
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Jackson

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What's the difference if a fossil-fuel guzzling 4x4 dragging a trailer craps up the environment via a dirt road or a paved road? Lowers the bar of entry? Makes it accessible to those who can't afford expensive 'camping' toys?
I think it's that a paved road is likely to result in significantly higher visitation, which can lead to much quicker physical degradation of the place. More people on the trails, more vandalism, more litter, more disturbed wildlife, more unauthorized camping, etc. Of course it's not a guarantee, but definitely more likely.

The access argument is a double-edged sword every time. People should be able to enjoy public lands since their taxes pay for them, but public lands also need protected from destruction by people (hikers and backpackers, mining operations, grazing, off-roading, etc.) at the same time. Then at the same time, publicity helps get protected status for places. No side is 100% right.

At least to me, it seems that not increasing access and publicity here is the less sharp side of that double-edged sword though. Accessible, publicized places in Utah (think Moab area, Zion) are getting overrun much more quickly than places like this that are a bit more out of the way. Not saying Boulder and the Burr trail are going to become the next Moab or Zion, but looking at those as examples is instructive.

That's just my take, but I figured I'd try to answer your question. I don't want to get into politics or a heated debate or anything like that. Want to avoid that as much as possible on here.
 

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