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ACTION ALERT:Mountain Quest Race

Dear High Uintas Preservation Council Member and Friends, Can you believe it?? Here is another one in a line of actions we need to take to watchguard the wild country of the Uintas.

We just received notice of The Mountain Quest Adventure Race and its route through the Lakes Backcountry/proposed Mt. Watson Wilderness and then travel along the edge of the High Uintas Wilderness. Get a map out and outline this preposterous route in red, then put your response on paper and get it to the Forest Service by July 1. We are only sending this out via email to those with email listed, so your letter is critical. We can’t thank you enough for your good help to protect the wild Uinta Range.

The X-treme Sports have made it to the backcountry of the Uintas!

Imagine it is August 8 at the Salt Palace. A throng of 180 inline skaters (4 person teams wherein at least 3 participants race in each leg) race toward and wind through City Creek and a whole bunch of places via mountain bikes, skates, foot and canoes, headed for Smith Morehouse Reservoir, Kamas Ranger District and edge of the Lakes Roadless Area, on August 18. Canoeing across the reservoir, they run up Smith Morehouse Creek Trail to Island Lake, on to Crystal Lake Trailhead, down Spring Creek Road to the Washington Lake group campsite. At 6AM on August 19, they run back to Crystal Lake, up the Notch Mt. Trail , over Notch Mt., down to the Weber River, up to the Pass Lake Trailhead, around the east side of Reids Pk. and Bald Mt. across the Mirror Lake Hwy., down to the Mirror Lake Trailhead and down the Duchesne River Trail to Mill Flat. They then travel across the Duchesne and Heber Districts on mt. bikes.

In other words, from the Smith Morehouse Creek Trailhead over Island Lake to Crystal Lake TH, up the Notch, down then up the Weber, they are running through the heart of the Lakes/Mt. Watson backcountry and HUPC proposed wilderness! Ironically, much of this country is in the proposed Forest Service Lakes Wilderness (Weber River/Smith Morehouse drainages). The trail from Mirror Lake to Mill Flat is the western boundary of the High Uintas Wilderness and, while not technically in the Wilderness, they run only a few feet from the Wilderness!

While we all have our opinions on the value of X-treme sports/athletic events and the physical and mental challenges they offer, THIS EVENT DOES NOT BELONG IN THE WILD LAKES BACKCOUNTRY OR ON THE VERY EDGE OF THE HIGH UINTAS WILDERNESS! This kind of activity is inconsistent with past management of the area, the 1985 forest plan direction, the proposed forest plan revision desired future condition, the present management status of backcountry, the 1999 Lakes Backcountry Recreation Plan not to mention probably violating the plan’s group size limitation of 20 beating hearts, AND THE WILD LAND ITSELF!

This land is not a track, a Disneyland facility, a climbing wall, a private physical health center. It is a wild chunk of land, home to goshawk, moose, cougar, bear, probably lynx, pine marten, three-toed woodpecker, beaver, maybe river otter, golden eagle and a host of others. The Forest Service refers to it as backcountry and that is what it is and has been. It is not essential that this “adventure” occur on public Forest Service wildlands. There are countless alternatives available that should be pursued.

Recreational experiences must be guided every day by that which it is-- wild backcountry-- not the flim-flam of the proponents (SLC and Park City Chambers of Commerce, Outdoor Retailers Association, Utah Sports Commission and Park City Mt. Resort) in "hopes of attracting future natural resource based tourism events" and "to highlight this type of extreme athletic event... sustain local businesses”... and the proverbial “highlight 2002 Winter Olympics." It is clear this will not be a one-time event! The importance of your wild voice is obvious. It is highlighted by the fact the Forest Service has said their analysis will be a “categorical exclusion,” meaning a quick and dirty analysis which by regulations can’t be appealed. The only way to stop this is raise your voice a notch or two!

WHAT TO DO
  1. BY JULY 1, WRITE JANE COTTRELL, DISTRICT RANGER, KAMAS RANGER DISTRICT, WASATCH-CACHE NATIONAL FOREST, P.O. BOX 68, KAMAS, UT 84036 AND TELL HER TO JUST SAY NO! WHILE IT IS BETTER TO WRITE A LETTER, YOU CAN EMAIL HER AT jcottrell@fs.fed.us. IT IS A GOOD IDEA TO COPY YOUR LETTER OR EMAIL TO THE ACTING FOREST SUPERVISOR, PAM GARDINER, WASATCH-CACHE NATIONAL FOREST, 8826 FEDERAL BLDG, 125 S. STATE ST., SLC, UT 84138. Email: pgardiner@fs.fed.us
  2. TELL JANE THIS IS AN INAPPROPRIATE RECREATIONAL USE OF WILD LAND. LET HER KNOW IT VIOLATES THE VERY DESIGN OF THESE WILD LANDSCAPES AND, FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES, IS BEING ALLOWED IN THE HIGH UINTAS WILDERNESS WHERE THE DUCHESNE RIVER TRAIL FROM MIRROR LAKE TO MILL FLAT IS THE WILDERNESS BOUNDARY.
  3. TELL HER THIS WAS NOT CONTEMPLATED OR ALLOWED BY THE LAKES BACKCOUNTRY MANAGEMENT PLAN.
  4. TELL HER THIS KIND OF ACTIVITY IS SUITED FOR AND BELONGS ON PRIVATE AND RESORT LANDS. WHATEVER YOU ARE COMPELLED TO SAY, SAY IT VIGOROUSLY AND SOON!

Thanks so much!

Dick Carter


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