Bicyclists may soon be able to follow a scenic trail between Moab and Grand Junction, Colo., and motorists may more easily drive to remote areas near Lake Powell and Canyonlands National Park if Rep. Howard Nielson, R-Utah, has his way.
He asked the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior this week to fund the road projects and bike trail saying they are "crucial to the economic well-being" of southern Utah.Nielson asked for $152,000 for toilet and water facilities along the Kokapelli Mountain Bike Trail between Moab and Grand Junction. He said most of the trail construction and placing of signs across the Bureau of Land Management land will be done by volunteers.
He also asked for $7.4 million for a four-year proj-ect to build the Trough Springs Canyon segment of the Hatch Point Road System near Canyonlands. The proposed 11 miles of paved road and 18 miles of gravel road would provide a scenic loop in Grand and San Juan counties.
Nielson also requested $950,000 for engineering and design of a road to better connect the small community of Navajo Mountain on the Navajo Indian Reservation with other Utah towns. The road would also provide access to the proposed new site of the Piute Farms Marina on Lake Powell.
Nielson said the 900 people in Navajo Mountain are "forced to travel hundreds of miles, sometimes through Arizona and then back into Utah, for medical services, food, mail and many other services. Children from the area must be boarded where they go to school because travel is too difficult to be done daily."
He said another reason the new road is needed soon is that "within three years it's estimated that where the marina is currently located will be filled in with silt. Building this road would provide access to the new location of the marina, a necessary economic resource for both Navajo Mountain and the Navajo Tribe."
Park service officials said the marina is already closed because of other problems. The tribe would like to relocate it in Copper Canyon.