Ron Hodson from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources presented at the county council meeting on Tuesday night. Hodson was requesting support from the council for a proposal to accept donated land from Kearn River Pipeline.
Hodson reported that Kearn River is planning an expansion to the pipeline that runs through the East Canyon Wildlife Management Area. Kearn River expressed the need to have access to the pipeline during October. The access requested by Kearn River would disrupt hunting in the area. It would likely make the parking lot used as a campsite by hunters inaccessible. It would also make hunting in the area difficult because the pipeline would be excavated and leave an open pit dividing the current public land in two during the heart of hunting season. Hodson indicated that the pit would probably not be able to be crossed on foot, and would definitely not be able to be crossed on horseback.
The DWR is sensitive to any impact on the hunting season and initially declined Kearn River’s request. Kearn River returned with a stronger request and expressed that it was critical to their project to have access during this time period. To help to make the request more acceptable they offered to donate 160 acres of land to the DWR as a part of the deal for access.
The 160 acres of proposed donated land would connect two existing parcels of public land that are currently separated. The DWR reviewed this proposal and felt that the disruption to hunting this year would be more than offset by the addition of the 160 acres going forward. The county council agreed and unanimously expressed support for the proposal.
The DWR will continue the negotiations with Kearn River, but seemed optimistic that agreement would be reached on this trade of access for land. Hunters will likely have a challenge with access to the area this year, but will have access to land currently unavailable for years to come.