Save Farmington Canyon Public Access
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For many years, the FAA maintained the Farmington Canyon road during the winter so that they could access their radio towers at Francis Peak. This allowed the road to be clear of snow and remain open for public travel including frequent canyon goers such as cabin owners, land owners, utility operators, etc. Approximately 5 years ago, the FAA stopped maintaining the road during the winter months because they found that they could access their radio tower by helicopter instead. This has left the canyon impassable during the winter due to heavy snow pack, wind drifts, small rockslides, etc. The only proposed solution at the time was for the Forest Service to implement an “Emergency Safety Closure” of the canyon each year around mid November. This closure has always been geared towards highway vehicles and has allowed limited access to ATV’s and snowmobiles. The problem is that the snow line usually sits at an awkward elevation that does not allow snowmobiles to ride up from the bottom parking lot due to dirt road conditions and ATV’s couldn’t make it past the snow line due to deep snow drifts. This has made canyon travel from approximately November through May unsafe and almost impossible. Restricting access to some of the most pristine public lands in Utah for over 6 months each year is both unacceptable and unnecessary.
It is proposed that the Forest Service and Farmington City allow private maintenance of the canyon road during the winter months just as the FAA did in years past. A group of canyon goers, citizens, sportsmen, hunters, and cabin/land owners known as the “Public Access Coalition” or “PAC” wishes to provide winter maintenance of Farmington Canyon at no cost to the Forest Service or Farmington City. The PAC consists of volunteers with extensive knowledge and years of experience traveling the canyon. The PAC has the heavy equipment necessary to clear all snow and debris from the canyon road. All volunteer time is donated at no cost. The PAC will plow and grade the road approximately 8 miles up the canyon to the Y junction where the canyon road splits towards the FAA towers and Bountiful Peak. 2 main parking areas will be cleared; one at the Y which can accommodate up to 25 vehicles and the other at Sunset Campground which can accommodate another 15-20 vehicles. Another option to be considered would be to install another gate right after Sunset Campground so that the PAC can establish different access point with the ever changing snowline. The PAC will use volunteers and donations to install a Forest Service gate that can be opened and closed as necessary. The roads would be cleared every Saturday as well as after every storm that leaves snow or debris on the road. Salt would be applied in shady areas where ice has a tendency to build up. PAC would post a sign at the bottom of the canyon warning all travelers to proceed with caution along with a list of requirements (listed below). The PAC will maintain the road from November 15 - May 15.
WINTER CANYON TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS
- All vehicles must have snow chains or 4x4
- No gooseneck, 5th wheel, or trailers with an overall length greater than 20’
- No parking on the road, only in designated parking areas. All violators to be towed at owners expense.
- All travelers to proceed at own risk
- (Other requirements as mandated by Forest Service or other agencies)
PUBLIC ACCESS COALITION STRUCTURE
- The PAC shall be structured as a Utah corporation and will be managed by a board of directors.
- The Chairman of the board shall be the organizing founder, David Sparks.
- The PAC shall have a treasurer which will keep a ledger of expenses, donations, etc.
- All donations will be used to offset the costs of operating the road maintenance equipment including but not limited to fuel, oil, repairs, general maintenance, etc.
- No member of PAC shall be compensated for their time.
- PAC shall maintain a liability insurance policy which will indemnify the Forest Service and Farmington City from any claims which could arise as a result of PAC direct operations.
OPTIONAL DONOR EQUIPMENT ON STANDBY
- Road Grader
- Off Highway Plow Truck
- Off Highway Snow Blower
- Snow Cat with Grooming Capabilities
- Dump Truck, Side Dump, End Dump
- Front Loader
- Excavator with Thumb Attachment
This proposal has circulated through local communities and has garnered the support of many people such as canyon users, canyon land owners, cabin owners, utility operators, etc. Attached is a signed petition from these people that show their support for this proposed action. Please do not restrict access to our public lands when we the people are willing and able to provide a safe, viable solution to this issue.
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