What would Wilderness Designation mean for WW and Deso - Mountain Buzz
 

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Old 11-14-2011   #1
 
Riverton, Utah
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What would Wilderness Designation mean for WW and Deso

So I have been away from the news for 4 or 5 days... a good thing in general. But I noticed that the Government released a proposed list of wilderness areas and West Water Canyon and Desolation was on it.

I don't want to start a Wilderness debate. I'm just curious how a Wilderness designation for say West Water would change it for those of us that like to float it. Seems already pretty much managed that way. Would there be changes?

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Old 11-14-2011   #2
 
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No more bike shuttle, no wheels in wilderness areas.
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Old 11-14-2011   #3
 
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I know that a while back the area around westwater was sought after for oil drilling, but was withdrawn from being mineable land by the secretary of the interior using a FLPMA withdrawal. This is basically a temporary moratorium on mining/drilling activities for 20 years. This period expired, and I believe that some other temporary withdrawal/removal was put in place-I can't remember what exactly.

However, when this temporary restriction is up there will be another push to lease the lands around westwater for oil exploration. A wilderness designation will permanently withdraw that land from possible drilling/mining activities.

I dont know as much about the history of Deso, but I know there is oil drilling in the area. A wilderness designation would obviously block oil exploration there as well.

As far as boating lots of wilderness areas allow rafting/kayaking - think black canyon/gunnison gorge. Motors would become off limits though.
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Old 11-14-2011   #4
 
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Thats the biggest difference facing rafters, no more motors if they make it wilderness.
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Old 11-14-2011   #5
 
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Would not present activities and uses be grandfathered in?
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Old 11-14-2011   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Frank
Would not present activities and uses be grandfathered in?
Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha !!!!!!


No really?
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Old 11-15-2011   #7
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No, there is no grandfathering of previous uses in wilderness. That is pretty much the puprose of wilderness designation, is to prevent previous uses .

Really this would hose the mtn bikers and motor cycle users that take the Kokopelli trail the most would be my guess (without seeing a map).
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Old 11-15-2011   #8
 
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Grandfathered

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Originally Posted by Milquetoast View Post
No, there is no grandfathering of previous uses in wilderness.
Sometime yes, sometimes no. It depends on how the specific wilderness legislation is written. For example, wilderness designation for the Frank Church River of No Return Idaho allowed continued use of existing airstrips such as Indian Creek on the Middle Fork and jet boats on the main Salmon.
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Old 11-15-2011   #9
 
Westminster, Colorado
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I highly doubt that this would eliminate a bike shuttle for westwater. Bike shuttle is on the kokopelli trail and mainly that trail is for mtn biking and 4 wheeling so I dont think that would be part of the wilderness area, although, I've seen crazier things happen. I rarely see anyone hiking the trail. So I wouldnt worry about that to much. The disadvantage that I see is that they could reduce the number of permits, and rafters would not be able to use motors. I do not know much about deso though.
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Old 11-15-2011   #10
 
Salt Lake City, Utah
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I just got back from an early November solo trip on Deso, and i couldn't believe how loud the drill rigs/pumps on the rim are when you are on the river. If you haven't done Deso, it is a really deep canyon(about as deep as though not as long or steep/dramatic as the Grand Canyon) and none of it was visible, so hearing it surprised me. Never noticed that before, but it could be because I wasn't really listening. The sound of them didn't completely go away until after Steer Ridge.

I'd be pretty surprised if Deso would qualify as a wilderness area since that whole area is laced with old ranch roads and new oil/gas access roads. I'd love it if it were wilderness though.
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