High Uintas Preservation Council 2001 Annual Report, 2002 Vision and Objectives
"Imagine a mountain defined by the creation of life, not the production of resources..."
In 2001, the High Uintas Preservation Council enjoyed a fifth remarkable year. Our membership is vigorous, passionate and generous. Our board of directors meets once a month and brings energy and vision to every aspect of the High Uintas Preservation Council. Our website has become a powerful tool for action and research; it now harbors a detailed, retrievable archive. Our newsletter, The LYNX, continues to receive praise, and provides alerts, necessary information, and issue background.
But, of most importance, we continue to influence the management of the High Uintas by pushing the context of ecologically-based management throughout the High Uintas Ecosystem. We continue to pursue the concept of wild native fisheries refugia for Bonneville and Colorado River cutthroat trout and reintroduction of Utah's missing natives such as wolves, wolverine, bighorn sheep, and eventually grizzly bears.
We have challenged, stopped and altered timber sales, grazing permits, snowmobile outfitting and guiding, and wilderness outfitting and guiding. We insisted on backcountry recreation plans that are ecologically, not recreationally, based. We have continued to be a driving force in forest planning by attending many meetings and workshops and ultimately preparing a Citizen's Alternative Forest Plan. We submitted a 50 page comment and maps detailing an ecologically- based alternative to the Wasatch/Cache National Forest Draft Forest Plan and Environmental Impact Statement. We have succeeded in helping the Forest Service designate hundreds of miles of Uintas rivers as eligible for Wild and Scenic River evaluation, and pressed the Forest Service to manage wilderness as wilderness, not a playground. We've worked with the Forest Service by undertaking wilderness resource inventories within the High Uintas Wilderness. We've challenged and stopped proposals to increase commercial snowmobiling permits on the Mirror Lake Highway and Whitney area. We prepared and submitted a Uintas North Slope Travel Plan. Our years of hard work with the Forest Service paid off when they supported and the Central Utah Water Conservancy District adopted our proposal to begin the removal of the 13 small reservoirs on the Lake Fork and Yellowstone drainages in the High Uintas Wilderness!
We have had innumerable meetings with Wasatch and Ashley National Forest Supervisors, the Regional Forester and District Rangers, as well as state wildlife and natural resource managers. We've presented our slide show to schools, civic and church organizations. We have conducted workshops on forest planning, lectured in classrooms and held membership meetings, including the robust Annual Rendezvous on the edge of the High Uintas Wilderness. We ve been featured on television newscasts, radio programs, and appear regularly in newspaper articles.
We live by our Vision for the High Uintas:
Imagine a mountain defined by the creation of life, not the production of resources.
To the High Uintas Preservation Council, wildness matters. Ecological processes and biodiversity matter. We believe the preservation of wilderness, the flow of wildness and the well-being of the human animal go hand in hand. We seek solutions to these land preservation issues, remembering that we are part of this world.
But first we must recognize that this world consists of wild places inhabited by wild critters living their lives as they know how. The Uintas are Utah's most primeval mountains-- not only a place of lumber, but of wild forests; not only a place of sheep and cows, but of mountain lions living out their dance with elk; not only a place of hikers or snowmobiles, but of an intense mystery and spirit where creation is at work.
... And we implement this vision through our Mission Statement:
The High Uintas Preservation Council endeavors to preserve and restore the inte grity of the High Uintas Ecosystem. We foster ecological literacy and activism. We seek community- based solutions. We affect the accountability of public decision makers. We work to maintain inherent biodiversity and natural processes. We encourage an expanded ecological and spiritual vision of the High Uinta Mountains.
In slightly over five years, the High Uintas Preservation Council has led a vibrant campaign for responsible steward- ship of this great but endangered wild area.
Continue our vigorous monitoring of the formal forest planning process, the single most important and defining action on the Uintas, to assure our ecologically-based alternative is the foundation of the new forest plan.
- Finalize a High Uintas Wild and Scenic River Proposal.
- Prepare an updated analysis of High Uintas roadless areas.
- Prepare a large and reduced version of the High Uintas Ecosystem map.
- Conduct general HUPC membership and public meetings on Uintas issues.
- Propose backcountry and wilderness reservoir stabilization.
- Monitor the HUW Management Plan.
- Monitor and push for implementation of the HUPC bighorn sheep reintroduction plan.
- Prepare proposals for wildlife and fisheries refugia/ preserves.
- Meet with the Director of the Division of Wildlife Resources to discuss High Uintas wildlife issues.
- Prepare a Timber Principles paper for the High Uintas Ecosystem.
- Produce bi-monthly issues of THE LYNX.
- Sponsor at least three HUPC membership events.
- Prepare action alerts for all major issues.
- Produce a booklet with maps, photos and illustrations of High Uintas issues and natural history.
- Maintain and restore the wilderness/wild, roadless characteristics of the High Uintas Ecosytem.
- Seek congressional wilderness designation on over 200,000 acres of roadless lands contiguous to the extant 460,000 acre High Uintas Wilderness.
- Seek congressional wilderness designation of about 100,000 acres of the proposed Mt. Watson Wilderness (western end of the Uintas.)
- Seek designation and acknowledgment of major free-flowing rivers on the High Uintas as Wild and Scenic Rivers.
- Oppose all new water diversions and dam proposals within the High Uintas Ecosystem.
- Maintain natural flow conditions on all streams.
- Support the stabilization of all backcountry/ wilderness reservoirs as naturally functioning lakes.
- Oppose oil and gas leasing on roadless lands in the High Uintas Ecosystem.
WILDLIFE AND FISHERIES
- Manage within ecological/ecosystem principles rather than extractive/consumptive standards.
- Restore extirpated native species to the High Uintas Ecosystem, including wolverine, lynx, native Colorado and Bonneville cutthroat trout, wolf, and grizzly bear.
- Support a watershed-based aquatic preserve on both the North and South Slopes highlighting the indicator species of Bonneville and Colorado River cutthroat trout.
- Phase out all non-indigenous fish stocking within the High Uintas Wilderness.
- Oppose the introduction of all non-indigenous terrestrial wildlife within the High Uintas Ecosystem, particularly within the High Uintas Wilderness and surrounding roadless lands.
- Support an ecosystem-based wildlife preserve within the High Uintas Ecosystem, focusing primarily on the wild, roadless and undeveloped portions of the High Uintas.
- Focus on ecologically- based grazing management principles.
- Maintain all ungrazed areas on the High Uintas Ecosystem.
- Phase out all livestock grazing in the High Uintas Wilderness and contiguous roadless areas to maintain wild characteristics and natural ecological flows.
- Eliminate all predator control within the High Uintas Wilderness and contiguous roadless lands. Focus predator control on the offending individuals on the rest of the ecosystem.
- Conform all timber harvesting operations with broad landscape and ecological principles.
- Oppose timber harvesting on all roadless areas.
- Close all logging roads to motorized travel and rehabilitate them within 3-5 years.
- Allow natural ecological disturbance regimes such as fire, insects, pathogens, and other natural events to define forest succession.
- Support the maintenance and expansion of existing campgrounds and facilities.
- Oppose any new campground construction.
- Phase out all dispersed camping along the Mirror Lake Highway.
- Support the Forest Service plan to close the road to Granddaddy Basin.
- Support a Forest Service trails study to determine status and need of the extant trail system.
- Oppose new trails or trailheads.
- Oppose any new outfitting and guiding. Urge the Forest Service to initiate a detailed analysis of outfitting and guiding to determine public need.
- Require minimum impact camping in all backcountry areas.
- Establish a long term wilderness impact inventory and monitoring process with the Forest Service on the High Uintas Wilderness and adjacent roadless areas.
- Produce and distribute regular, meaningful, and informative newsletters and issue alerts.
- Show our slide presentation at regular meetings, seminars, classrooms, clubs, etc.
- Create and maintain a vigorous and effective working relationship with local media.