Ashley Karst National Recreation and Geologic Area
The Ashley Karst NRGA is a specially designated recreation and water preservation area located entirely within the Ashley National Forest in Uintah County. The area was established by the John D. Dingell Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act (also known as the Dingell Act). The NRGA will encompass approximately 173,475 acres of Uintah County's watershed on the Ashley National Forest.
Ashley Springs Land Conveyance
The Dingell Act of 2019 required the BLM to transfer approximately 791 acres of land into Uintah County ownership. This land encapsulates a large portion of Ashley Gorge. The purpose of the land transfer is to give local government the power to manage water resources for our community. Ashley Springs, which provides culinary water for 25,000 people in Ashley Valley, is located within the property, and it is in the best interest of Uintah County to protect this sensitive water supply. The Dingell Act states that "the conveyed land shall be managed as open space to protect the watershed and underground karst system and aquifer." The Act also requires the land to be protected from uses that could damage the water system, such as mining and new road construction. The land patent was signed into Uintah County ownership on August 10, 2020.
John Wesley Powell National Conservation Area
The John Wesley Powell NCA was designated by the Dingell Act to conserve and protect "nationally significant historic, cultural, natural, scientific, scenic, recreational, archaeological, educational, and wildlife resources." The land is managed by the BLM, and contains provisions to protect the land from certain developments, such as mining, while allowing uses such as hunting and grazing to continue.
RS 2477 Road Litigation
Revised Statue 2477 is an old federal law that authorized the construction of roads. Many of these roads are located on public land in Uintah County. In 1976, RS 2477 was repealed and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) was established. This new law allowed all roads that existed at that time (1976) to remain open to the public. However, there is an ongoing legal dispute that threatens the existence of many of these roads within the West. Uintah County is actively engaged in securing all RS2477 rights-of-way within our county boundaries. This is primarily done by requesting each right-of-way to be granted to Uintah County from the BLM. To date, Uintah County has been granted rights-of-way for almost every Class B County Road on BLM lands, and we are currently seeking rights-of-way for dozens of Class D County Roads.
The State of Utah is also actively involved in preserving these roads throughout the state. For further information and an interactive map outlining each road in litigation, please visit the Utah Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office (PLPCO) web site: https://publiclands.utah.gov/current-projects/rs-2477/