October 1999 Newsletter

Alan J Peterson

  That pretty much sums up National Public lands Day at the Devil's Canyon & Copper Globe Mine area 9-25-99. The Emery County Public Lands Council, alongside the Bureau of Land Management and Emery County Government officials, pulled together one of the most successful cooperative projects that I have ever been a part of.
  Over 170 individuals representing a wide variety of public land users gathered at Justesen Flat on Saturday September 25, 1999 to work side by side improving our public lands. Mule riders, bicycle riders, hikers, youth groups, boy scouts, historical society, photographers, coal miners, church groups, government agencies and our very own S.E.U.O.H.V. club were all well represented.
Projects included reclamation work in Devil's Canyon. Off-route tracks were obliterated, barricades were placed to discourage intrusions and grass seeds planted where needed. Raking, dragging and blocking were ill done so the public would know where they were not allowed to travel or camp. Directional and information signs were painted along the way to Copper Globe Mine and Shepherd's End.
  Probably the most labor extensive work was done at the Copper Globe area. A new kiosk was erected along with a rock & cement monument, which will house a bronze plaque commemorating the day. Each organization or family who had at least 10 members will have their name included on the plaque.
  Trail routes were laid out and designed by BLM employees and a trail crew lined them with rocks and built cairns to lead visitors to each of the significant sights at this most historic place. These sites include such things as: Horizontal and vertical mine shafts. Numerous mine shacks and cabins complete with beds, fire places and one stocked with canned goods and camping supplies. The historic (and shrinking) woodpile which fueled the kiln. The powder magazine that tunnels into the solid rock hillside beneath the woodpile. A water cistern once was covered by a roof. One mine shaft complete with a wooden ladder leading down inside. And then there is the 1100 foot deep shaft that was fenced last year with chain link.
  A bit of red spray painted graffiti was scrubbed away and now no trace of it remains. Tracks left by off-route travel were obliterated and some trash gathered and hauled out.
  The most time consuming project was definitely the 'buck and pole" fencing that was constructed on site and situated, as per the BLM design, around certain sites and as a perimeter barrier to restrict vehicular access. The wood pile was fenced as well as the shallow shaft at the north end. A long section of this fencing was placed across the upper face of the sand dune with openings or "gates" situated in appropriate places to guide and direct the many visitors that this 'Heritage Site" receives.
  Approximately 850 man/woman hours were invested into this project in a single day. This was made possible only after hundreds of hours of preparation on the part of The Emery County Public Lands Council, Emery County and the BLM. Our club was well represented in the this process from the very beginning, as it was the idea of Margaret Swasey. Our club was also represented by approximately 40 members who participated alongside the many other user groups and we all take pride in our accomplishment.
  At the end of the day we all returned to Justesen Flat for a Dutch oven meal prepared for  us by the Emery County Search and Rescue Crew. Excellent food after a day of hard work in a terrific outdoor setting. What more could you ask for? How about live entertainment! With Commissioner Randy Johnson performing M.C. duties, Val Payne and Wes Curtis showed off their love for the land as well as their musical talents and entertained everyone by playing guitar and singing songs that they had written. Val sang of wild nights spent in Carbon County (not really,.guess you had to have been there :-) ) Wes Curtis sang some excellent songs that he had written about the San Rafael Swell, "Indian Rock-Rock" and a humorous tune titled 'The Easter'n Rap" All us country folk know what "Easter'n" is, right? I think Wes was camped in Buckhorn Wash when he was inspired to write that one. The program was closed out by the arrival of Congressman Chris Cannon. Mr. Cannon was tending to family obligations at home during the day (soccer games, etc.) but was still committed enough to our project that he drove from Mapleton as quickly as possible to see what was done. Thank goodness for the full moon that night because it was after 8:00 PM when he finished shaking hands and visiting with people so they could finally head to the mine. It's said that the local officials received some special commitments from the Congressman? It seems that only after receiving these commitments would they guide him safely past the many open mine shafts!
  I have a deep respect and admiration for our local government officials and the local BLM area manager, Mr. Dick Manus. We are fortunate to have such compassionate and 'hands-on" people. Will Mr. Manus spport every single proposal that the OHV community asks for? Probably not. Will Mr. Manus oppose every single proposal that the OHV community asks for? Probably not. Will Mr. Manus listen with open ears and an open mind to every single proposal that the OHv community presents? Absolutely YES. What more could you ask for from a man who is in charge of the administration of over 2.5 million acres of public land in an area considered to be a "hot bed" of controversy. The BLM is being pulled in opposite directions. Proposals for up to 10 million acres of Wilderness designation on one side, and those of us who feel that 2 million acres designated as Wilderness would be plenty. The Wise-Use side will never match the money that the "10 million acre" folks are pledging, but by working side by side on projects such as Copper Globe we will prove to everyone who the REAL environmentalists are.
  Projects like this are a great 'recharge of one's batteries' used to fight our public land battles these days. It is truly a rewarding experience to work side by side with different groups and share in the accomplishments of "a job well done". Whether we ride OHV's, Mules, Horses, Camels, Bicycles, drive Jeeps, trucks or simply hike, we all share a love and respect for the land
  How do you measure the success of a project like this? I feel that there are different gauges to be used. First, we can see how long "the work on the ground" lasts, this can be measured in days, months and years. But, I feel the more important aspect of this work is how long the "experience" lasts within each and every participant's heart and mind. Hopefully the compassion, knowledge and understanding that each participant takes home with them will far outlast the physical things such as rock cairns, monuments, wooden fences or fresh paint. The respect for our Heritage, as well as our land, will remain with us long after the last flake of red paint falls from a wooden sign.
  If you weren't able to participate in this year's National Public Lands Day project you will definitely want to start planning for next year. Odds are that you won't have to wait too long, as I am sure that Margaret is already planning something for Earth Day and National Trails Day. As motorized OHV users we can be proud of the fact that WE have NEVER proposed to lock out other users. We need to continue to share land and respect others and their beliefs.   Be courteous on the trails and always yield to other users. Stop, kill your engine and remove your helmet when you meet others on the trail. Speak friendly and politely. If there is to be confrontation, let it be the other user who initiate it, not you.

  Thank you to all who have helped in this or any other project on OUR public lands!