A "recreation initiative" by the U.S. Forest Service, expected to add millions of dollars to the Utah economy and forge partnerships with public agencies and private business, was hailed by Gov. Norm Bangerter Monday.
Bangerter honored Utah's six federal forest supervisors and the regional ranger at a ceremony, by giving them the Governor's Award for Excellence for their work.Recipients are J. Stanley Tixier, regional forester; Hugh C. Thompson, supervisor of Dixie National Forest; J. Kent Taylor, Fishlake National Forest; George A. Morris, Manti-LaSal; Duane G. Tucker, Ashley; Don T. Nebeker, Uinta; and Dale N. Bosworth, Wasatch-Cache National Forest.
They were cited for:
-Defining a north-south "Adventure Highway" that runs the length of the state through Utah's scenic mountain areas. Paralleling I-15, it follows existing roads and highways.
-Providing the leadership for the Great Western Trail, which will stretch from Mexico to Canada when completed. It is intended to be a corridor of multiple-use trails rivaling the Appalachian Trail.
The route follows roads and trails through Utah's heart, showing off the culture, history and romance of the West, according to the governor's citation.
-Working with communities, businesses, industry and service organizations throughout Utah to develop needed recreation facilities. Using donations and volunteers, projects are being completed that would be impossible otherwise in this era of severely limited budgets.
-Producing a booklet of national forests in Utah, in partnership with Blackner Card Co. of Cedar City. The booklet contains photographs of "undiscovered and special places" that many will want to see.
The initiative will help attract tourists, Bangerter said. "This means millions of dollars annually added to the state's economy."
Lyle Gomm, an official at Uinta National Forest who worked to set up the Great Western Trail, said the recreation initiative aims at going beyond simply accommodating recreationists who show up at the forests. It is intended to "make Utah forests a destination experience," he said.
Bosworth said that as part of the initiative, Wasatch-Cache National Forest is working with oil companies to build trailheads and campgrounds on the North Slope of the Uintas.