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Letter to the Editor: Nuck Woodward Road

By Dennis Udink Price Utah

It was disappointing to read that Emery County Commissioner Paul Cowley is in favor of permanently closing the Nuck Woodward road to motorized vehicles (Emery County Progress, “County commission hires lawyer for personnel matters,” July 19, 2016), and instead supports making the road equestrian use only. The road was temporarily closed due to flood damage after the Seeley Fire in 2012. Considering the extent to which motorized vehicle use on public lands is currently under attack, and also Emery County’s participation in the Public Lands Initiative, it’s surprising that any of the commissioners would condone any loss of motorized routes.
Commissioner Keith Brady blogged about his field trip experience to the Nuck Woodward road prior to the Emery County Commission’s July 5 meeting: “The damages to the road were less severe than I thought from how it was explained to me. I feel we were mislead about the costs to fix and the damage to the road.” (Source: http://keithbrady.com/2016/07/commissioners-report-july-5-2016/)
The Nuck Woodward road provides the only motorized access from Huntington Canyon to the Scofield area. Permanently closing the road to motorized vehicles would leave the town of Clear Creek on a dead-end road with only one route of egress in the case of a wildfire or other natural disaster or emergency. Such closure would also remove the option for families like mine wanting to take a recreational drive or ride in a truck, Jeep, ATV, or UTV between Carbon and Emery counties via the Nuck Woodward route.
Alternatively, there are at least a dozen equestrian trails already in existence in the Huntington Canyon area where motorized use is prohibited. It doesn’t make sense to me to close the only motorized dirt road in the area in favor of equestrian use, when there are already plenty of other trails on which to ride horses. A vast majority of Emery County constituents would be locked out of some beautiful country to the benefit of an elite few. Although I’m a resident of Carbon County, I spend a lot of recreational time in Emery County and I hope residents of this wonderful county will agree with me and call upon their county commissioners to reconsider their flawed position in closing this road.

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