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Discussion Starter #1
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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I know that a while back the area around westwater was sought after for oil drilling, but was withdrawn from being mineable land by the secretary of the interior using a FLPMA withdrawal.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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Dave Frank said:
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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Newb Sauce
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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 :p.

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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Grandfathered

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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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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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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Discussion Starter #11
Well just because it has or has had roads and such on it doesn't mean it won't be designated as Wilderness. There are lots of areas in Utah where after the roadless inventory in the early 90s they closed the roads and then designated them as Wilderness Study areas. And I can take you to a handful of places in designated wilderness that have old mines and timber camps in them from before the Wilderness designation.

So I don't think that would stop it.

I'm not saying it should be stopped either, I'm just curious what it would/could mean.
 

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The drilling (noise, fumes, spills) and the resulting spread of roads and the heavy truck traffic has really changed the Deso area.

For the worse, I reckon. Any way to limit that careless exploitation is fine with me.
 

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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)

I did Deso twice this summer and didnt notice any sound but the bugs......
 

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I never noticed the sound when I ran Deso in April or in years past, but it was definitely there in November. Not sure if it is just from drilling a new hole or if I was just listening more since I was alone on the river. Listen for it next time, especially in the flat water before Jack Creek.
 

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Kjirsten
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Dogs are allowed on both of these stretches- they would not be allowed with a Wilderness designation.
 

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Dogs are allowed in wilderness (usually) just not NPS.
 

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I always thought things like cars and maintained roads were verboten in wilderness areas. Are the boat ramps conveniently located just outside the wilderness areas?
 

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Newb Sauce
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Motorized items are not allowed in wilderness.

They are trying to push wilderness area in the flattops area. In that case the Hidden Gems plan was to cherry stem existing roads in. I assume they would do the same if the ramps were inside the wilderness area. I don't know this area super well but there is map below that has the areas in it.

I could not see anything that stated pets were not allowed in wilderness at a glance.

Here are a couple links with some more information.

Wilderness Act - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Salazar IDs Westwater, other lands for protection | GJSentinel.com
http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/media..._areas.Par.1170.File.dat/Westwater Canyon.pdf
 

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Hi,

Mechanized traffic may be grandfathered in a new Wilderness area if it is considered a traditional or historic use. Witness the jetboats and airplanes that are allowed in Idaho Wilderness areas.

It's up to Congress to make that determination.

FWIW.

Rich Phillips
 
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