A committee formed by Juab County commissioners to meet with Forest Service officials has come up with a list of complaints and demands they want addressed.
Glenn Greenhalgh, Juab economic director, has been selected as chairman of the group. Betty Sanders and Dale Worwood and State Sen. Cary Petersen, R-Nephi, are also part of the committee. They are meeting with Thomas Tidwell, U.S. Forest Service district forest ranger for the Spanish Fork Ranger District.One point the committee plans to make, said Greenhalgh, is that in the other areas where campgrounds were closed, public comment meetings were held. This was not done in Juab.
Greenhalgh said 2.1 miles of the Nephi Salt Creek Canyon were closed, which represented over half of the total recreational camping area available. "In effect half of our canyon was closed to dispersed camping," said Greenhalgh.
Worwood said he had been collecting comments and histories concerning the canyon from the area's oldest residents. Those histories proved that it was the residents of the area who helped build and establish the canyon in the first place, he said.
"We will get the documentation to back it (our claims) up," said Green-halgh.
Othell Pay, who attended the meeting as a citizen, said Boy Scouts stayed in the canyon at Ponderosa in 1923. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints used Bear Canyon for an annual outing long before the Forest Service came on the scene, he said.
Nephi Canyon was one of the first areas to get federal money for improvement of facilities. It was after that time, said Pay, that relations between the Forest Service and area residents deteriorated. "It was about 1952 when the Forest Service had a change of attitude," he said.
Commissioner Richard Brough invited Tidwell to the stand and asked several questions. Brough said he had visited Brigham Young University where he read the Federal Administrative Proclamation Act. He said the Forest Service should have met with the commission and should have conducted public meetings in the area because such meetings are required in areas where the finances of the area might be adversely impacted.
Tidwell said it was his understanding the Forest Service did not fall under the act. He said he plans to work closely with the county committee and will review the decisions to close 2.1 miles to disbursed camping and to keep Cottonwood Campground closed.
Brough said he thinks Tidwell owes the community an apology.
Tidwell will meet with the committee and will try to come to an agreement that will be mutually satisfying, he said.