A chance to go wild

  Utah has no rivers protected under the 1968 federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, but that might change. This month, the Forest Service released a draft report on recommendations for possible wild and scenic designation within the Uinta National Forest. This forest alone has 92 small sections of rivers eligible for designation, but the agency plans to recommend only four. Zachary Frankel, executive director of the nonprofit Utah Rivers Council, fears the agency is saving the remaining river sections for development. But Reese Pope, forest planner for the Uinta and Wasatch-Cache national forests, says only four river segments were picked because they represent "the best of the best sections of river," which the agency interprets as the intention of the act. A wild and scenic designation allows rivers to be protected in their existing state and does not apply to private holdings. To be eligible, a section of river must be "free flowing" and possess one or more qualities of outstanding value, such as wildlife, or scenic or geologic features. A 45-day public comment period, ending Nov. 21, will be held before a final inventory is determined.


To become involved, contact Reese Pope at the Uinta National Forest office, 88 West 100 North, Provo, UT 84601 (801/377-5780); or the Utah Rivers Council at 801/486-4776.





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