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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Nuck Woodward Road Temporary Closure a Compromise

By Chris Fredrickson

There has been a lot of opinions expressed recently on the proposed closure by the Forest Service to temporarily close the Nuck Woodward Road from September 5 to November.
I am an avid sportsman who enjoys the wonderful beauties, activities and benefits provided by access to public land in the State of Utah. I have had the opportunity to go out and enjoy our public lands on numerous occasions. I enjoy hunting, fishing, riding ATV’s and snowmobiles, and hiking. I believe that our Forest Service Lands are lands of multiple use not just for one group of people.
The term “Public Access” does not mean just access via ATV or hoof or foot. It means the ability to enter and enjoy our public lands. That said it would not be good for there to be a road in every canyon because of the negative impact this would have on wildlife habitat and other natural resources. That said there needs to be places for individuals who like riding ATV’s (myself included) to ride and enjoy their public lands. There are many places on the Manti La-Sal where you can ride an ATV and there are also many places where you can ride a horse or hike. The Manti La-Sal’s are providing options for multiple types of individuals to access public land.
When I heard about the possible temporary closure of the Nuck Woodward road I was excited. This would provide an additional opportunity to get away from the roads and noise associated with those roads and it would be beneficial for wildlife. The thought also came to my mind that I wish they would just close it altogether. But as I have thought about this issue I realized that this kind of selfish mentality is not a good option, it does not take into consideration the other alternatives to public access. If I don’t consider other people and their form of access would they consider me and my form of public access?
If there is one thing that both sides have in common on this issue it is access to public lands. We all need to protect access to our public lands. What does the temporary closure do for this? Those who like accessing public land via ATVs will still continue to have access during the summer for this area. Those who like accessing the public lands via foot or hoof without disturbance from motorized vehicles will have access to this area the way they like it from September to November. It seems pretty equal as far as time goes.
The Nuck Woodward road receives a lot of traffic during the hunting season which puts a strain on the wildlife. I am concerned about the wildlife and their habitat and so this issue is very important to me. If there is any activity that would benefit wildlife habitat I am all for it.
So in my opinion the temporary closure of the Nuck Woodward road is a compromise by the Forest Service to allow access by different individuals at different times of the year. I do not support a complete closure of this road but I do support the temporary closure.
We all need to work together to support our common goal of public access to our public lands.
Chris Fredrickson
Price, Utah

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