It may yet be possible for the National Park Service and the state of Utah to negotiate some kind of agreement satisfactory to both as result of the state's moves to acquire land for a new marina at Lake Powell, a federal official says.
William Horn, assistant Interior Department secretary, who is in charge of the Park Service and other federal land agencies, gave the Deseret News a different viewpoint Thursday on the possible trade than Park Service Director William Penn Mott Jr. offered Wednesday.In an interview during the National Park Service superintendents conference at Grand Teton National Park, Mott said he opposes Utah getting the land.
In Utah, Gov. Norm Bangerter in turn said Lake Powell needs more and better facilities, and he resents federal bureaucrats dictating and overriding Utah development.
State officials want to acquire enough land on the shores of Lake Powell, within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, to develop a new resort. Utah officials have said that while most of the lake is in Utah, most of the concession income goes to Arizona.
The problem with a new resort, in Mott's view, is that the lake already reaches its carrying capacity with the many boaters that visit Glen Canyon on big three-day summer weekends.
But in a subsequent interview, Horn - Mott's boss - said he has met twice with Bangerter, and said the department is committed to negotiate in good faith "to try to make it go."
However, Horn could not guarantee that a land trade will take place. He said the objective would be to improve management.
He said that if both sides negotiate with understanding of the other party's concerns, "I think something can be worked out. We've pointed out to the governor that we're not sure we can do it."
Told that Mott said he opposes the state creating a new marina, Horn said he is aware of that and that he knows there is a concern that another marina could diminish the value of the franchise already there.
Pressed to say how such a divergent position can be reconciled with the state getting land at Glen Canyon, Horn said that he can imagine through "pure speculation . . . all sorts of ways to arrange things to the mutual benefit of the parties."
The federal government would like to obtain park-quality land the state has within national parks. For its part, the state conceivably could acquire financial benefits where a resort is already scheduled for expansion. It was uncertain whether he meant ownership or some change so that the concession payment would go to the state instead of the federal government.
Horn said that is "rash speculation," but cited it as an example of the way things can be negotiated.
"The state might not obtain 100 percent of its objectives," he said.
"Let's face it, in negotiations we have an opening offer, a fall back and a bottom line."