Southern Utah News Articles
K.C.C.D. requests Governor to take action on roads stalemate
The Kane County Conservation District has requested that Utah Governor Jon Huntsman take action on road maintenance, the latest issue concerning Kane County's RS2477 roads fight. It said that while they know that they can't affect the long time issue currently, they would request and encourage the Association of Counties and the Governor's office leadership and staff to help ease the current concerns regarding those roads being properly maintained.
"We would like to encourage you and your office's resources to take a look at this matter and possibly assist our Kane County officials and BLM officials to come to a working agreement which is what the citizens of Kane County want," said the board letter, signed by K.C.C.D. chairman Bruce Bunting. "If this problem persists much longer our roads and the citizens who traverse them and use and need them will be devastated that much more during economic time of uncertainty."
The issue the conservation district is referring to is a decision made by the Kane County Commission to not maintain or use county equipment on all roads that traverse federally managed lands. These roads were traditionally managed by the county's 'B" road funds with an agreement with the BLM.
The deadlock comes from a Judge Tena Cambell decision against Kane County which frustrated them over roads jurisdiction. "Since Judge Campbell's decision was made, Kane County has spent close to $450,000 to appeal this ruling.," said the K.C.C.D. letter.
The BLM claims the 1976 statute called the Federal Land Policy Management Act (FLPMA), negated the old 2477 roads and jurisdiction. But the FLPMA Act also grandfathered in any existing open roads which are used by the public today. They say the county can continue to maintain roads under FLMPA as it has for several decades.
The county's response is that it's just following Judge Campbell's ruling.
K.C.C.D. said that the BLM understands it does not have the needed resources for road maintenance as the county has, and the county's interpretation of the Campbell ruling is that it can't do anything that will affect its current litigation.
The letter states that they know of no other counties in the state that is interpreting or abiding to this ruling by Judge Campbell, in the same manner as Kane County.
"We know it's hard to effectively run an agricultural operation economically in a public lands county within having maintained roads to travel on. This also affects the conservation projects we are involved with local cooperators which in turn in restoring our rangelands and watersheds in which we have the legislated duty to protect and enhance." The K.C.C.D. stressed as a district, they are charged with improving and maintaining the natural resource base.
"The ones caught in the middle of this road fight are the public taxpayers who use these roads which include our bonified agricultural producers," said K.C.C.D.
"If this problem persists much longer, our roads and the citizens who traverse them and use and need them will be devastated that much more during this economic time of uncertainty."