A Garfield County man who has been associated with an environmental group that has opposed construction of the Burr Trail is providing water for use by a construction company working on the controversial project.
Grant Johnson says he still doesn't agree with Burr Trail improvements, but he believes that the road should be completed under rights that have legally been upheld through the courts in a fair and orderly manner.He has lived near Deer Creek, and about a month ago he offered to allow the Harper Construction Co. to use water that is needed for keeping down the dust and for compaction. The firm accepted after work was briefly shut down when environmentalists asked the courts not to let the contractor use Deer Creek water.
Johnson was formerly associated with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, an organization in a coalition of four environmental groups who have fought the Burr Trail project and filed numerous legal documents to thwart the effort. He was once charged with vandalizing bulldozers on the Burr Trail and faced felony and misdemeanor charges. All charges, except a misdemeanor drug charge, were dismissed.
Water rights were not transferred to Harper Construction. The company is allowed only temporary use of water Johnson has been using.
The state engineer's office reported it has addressed all critical issues in connection with Johnson's Deer Creek water and placed some restraints on its use.