Dear Sierra Club Officers - Any publicity you could lend us on our Silent Vigil in Logan Canyon would be much appreciated. Thanks! Nadene Skinhoff 753-0497 or Bruce Pendery 750-0253
Dear Audubon Friends,
When I was hired to work on the Logan Canyon highway issue as a public awareness coordinator, I had never read the Environmental Impact Statement. The massive, highly technical document is more than a little intimidating, and certainly does not qualify as bedside reading, even for diehards like Steve Flint. When I actually sat down with it I was in for a shock. As the numbing statistics and endless maps began to add up, a picture began to emerge in my mind. The picture I saw horrified me.
About that time, Scott Smith and myself were preparing a Logan Canyon slide presentation, and I asked him to get some shots of other Wasatch Front canyons where similar projects had been completed. Actually, we had all of them to choose from. Logan Canyon is the last intact, through canyon on the Wasatch Front.
By chance, the canyon he happened to shoot was Provo Canyon. He hit a nerve.
I grew up at the mouth of Provo Canyon. That canyon was a place of spiritual wonder and endless adventure. Many mornings I pedaled my bike along its gentle winding road, basking in the fragrance of cottonwoods and pines. At my side a rambunctious river played, and above me, waterfalls cascaded down towering cliffs.
As I stared at Scott's slides of Provo Canyon I saw a canyon floor literally devoid of any forms of life. The cottonwoods and willows that graced
the canyon bottom have been buried under cut-and-fill material. Rubble and pavement stretch from canyon wall to canyon wall. The once wild river of my childhood lies silent and stale in a freshly bulldozed channel. Huge metal retaining sheets barricade the canyon walls.
I have not been sleeping well since. Late at night I lie in the dark, aching for a place that is gone and fearing for a place I have come to love,
Logan Canyon. I recall all the well-worn phrases being bandied about, phrases like, "This is a new era of road-building. Roads are now built in an environmentally sensitive manner." The Provo Canyon road is being constructed right now, and that road tells me that there is no such thing as a "sensitive" destruction. As Bruce Pendery said, "The longer I am in the sciences, the more I realize that we are not God." There is no way to put a two-million-year-old canyon back together again after you take it apart. Mitigation can't restore the original creation.
I have now joined the long line of people crawling up and down the Logan Canyon road measuring and surveying and feeling sick in the pit of my stomach. There is no way to fit this project into this canyon without carving out a good deal of the canyon. As l join the hundreds of people who have studied this canyon and measured its resiliancy against the proposed project, I am in the company of some of the most intelligent, articulate and informed members of our community. These are not knee-jerk rabble rousers. The canyon has been probed and measured and tested by scientists from many disciplines. The overwhelming consensus they arrive at is that this highway project will destroy biological eco-systems, reduce safety, harm tourism and devastate the canyon's scenic values.
The Utah Department of Transportation has come under fire because of the enormous sums already spent on the environmental review
process. Pressure is mounting to push this project through in order to justify past expenditures, and the final Record of Decision is due in
early summer. The irony is that the very reason it has been so costly and time-consuming is because it is not proving to be a viable project.
Though US Highway 89 through Logan Canyon is considered a minor arterial, this proposed project has generated more controversy than any
road in the entire state, with the exception of the Burr Trail. The controversy exists because the project is simply an enormously destructive
waste of money.
The Utah Department of Transportation initially justified the project based on safety. When a seven-year study conducted by independent
scientists concluded that the project would result in a more dangerous road, UDOT changed their tactics.
They next advocated the project for efficiency's sake, pointing to a reduced travel time, from 48 minutes to 43 minutes. But the cost of $21
million seemed a staggering sum to pay for a savings of five minutes, especially since most of the traveling public seemed to enjoy their time
spent in the canyon. And destroying an entire canyon for a savings of five minutes seemed absurd.
They then pointed to pressures on the canyon from increased traffic. There is irony in this position also, as one of the very reasons that Logan Canyon draws so much traffic is because it offers a beautiful natural experience. Once the canyon is carved up to make the scenery more accessible, there will not be much scenery left.
UDOT emphasizes Logan Canyon's role as an important traffic conduit. A simple road map will disprove the point. Logan Canyon is not a
bottleneck between Canada and Mexico, and is not even a direct route to Yellowstone. It is a relatively small, very beautiful byway. Travelers
choose to go the longer route through Logan Canyon because of its scenic qualities. Even if the route were five minutes faster, it would be
nowhere near as fast as alternative routes. And the motivation for traveling the longer route through Logan Canyon would disappear. A wide, high-speed highway would destroy the canyon's ambiance.
Now UDOT lamely pushes the plan, without specifying a clear need or purpose. It is time to put this dinosaur to rest.
This road controversy is more than 20 years old. When it was initially planned, these projects were accepted unquestioningly. Any development was good development. Since that time we have experienced a shift in public perceptions. We are in a new era, an era when we are all realizing that the frontier is gone. We are running out of wild rivers and wild canyons. We are looking to our remaining wild places to fulfill spiritual needs, to find escape from the pressures of a world that has speeded up, dirtied up, and filled up past our ancestors' wildest dreams.
All over the country there is mounting pressure to preserve the beautiful natural places that remain to us. Projects that have been in the planning stages for 20, 30,50 years are being turned back at the last hour by intense, organized-public opposition.
The UDOT officials are our public servants. Our money pays their salaries and buys their bulldozers. We demand a say in these decisions affecting our canyon.
Please join us in blanketing every desk between here and Washington with letters condemning this needless, wasteful, destructive project. Help us in our effort to carry a personal appeal to Washington to visit with the agencies that oversee these projects.
It is time to make our last stand. It is time to save our canyon.
Yours in friendship and purpose,
TWELVE REASONS TO OPPOSE THE PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE FOR LOGAN CANYON
The proposed highway project for Logan Canyon will cost $21 million, in a state where funds are desperately needed elsewhere. For example, Utah ranks lowest in the nation for educational funding.
Tourism is the top private sector industry in Utah, and brings millions of dollars into the local economy. Logan Canyon is the top tourist attraction in Cache County. The activity rated highest by visitors to Logan Canyon is "viewing the scenery."
3. NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE
Logan Canyon was proposed as a National Park, has been named a National Scenic Byway, has been listed as one of the 12 most scenic routes through America's national forests, and was listed first in a national magazine promoting Utah's scenic byways. One magazine article referred to Logan Canyon as "spectacular."
4. NEGATIVE PUBLICITY
In a major state-by-state comparison, Utah ranked near the bottom in environmental awareness and protection. Earlier construction in the canyon added to that perception, as national magazine articles condemned the devastation. One article in National Parks Magazine was entitled: "Logan ' Canyon: Standards for Destruction."
s. SCENIC BEAUTY DESTROYED
The road is due to be re-routed, on average, once every three-quarters of a mile throughout the length of the tanyon. Massive cuts are planned to achieve a straighter alignment and substantially increased road width. Roadside plant communities and forests will be replaced by unsightly gashes in the hillsides. In the lower canyon barren slopes have not re-vegetated yet, though the cuts. were made 20 to 30 years ago.
Clear zones of 22 feet may level the forest on each side of the road, cutting a wide swath through the cottonwood, river birch and box elder trees that line the river canyon. Many of the limber pines that grace the summit will be removed to accommodate passing lanes, wider pavements, clear zones, intersections, and road realignments.
In some places the river will be intruded upon, lined by cement retaining walls or "riprap." Logan River's wild and scenic qualities will be drastically reduced.
A seven-year study of accidents on the lower, already widened stretch of the road documents four times the number of rollovers compared to the middle and upper stretches. Accidents on the widened stretch tend to be more severe, often resulting in serious injury or death.
The plan eliminates switchbacks down to Bear Lake, producing a very steep downgrade. High elevations and north-facing slopes will create icy winter conditions and a greatly increased potential for serious accidents in Rich County.
Unstable slope cuts have created an excess of loose roadside rubble and rock in other Wasatch Front canyons, leading to hazardous driving conditions.
Major road work will block traffic and cause lengthy delays in the canyon for years, with an adverse effect on recreation, tourism and through-traffic.
8. CANYON DEVALUED
The draft Final Environmental Impact Statement justifies the highway project by emphasizing the benefits of a reduction in travel time from 48 minutes to 43 minutes. The time spent traveling the canyon is listed in the DEIS as a negative experience, and our National Scenic Byway is portrayed as merely a traffic conduit.
We believe this is a gross misrepresentafion of Logan Canyon, a canyon which offers spectacular scenery, unsurpassed recreational activities, and "an increasingly important refuge from our crowded cities. Logan Canyon is a destination, not just a line on the map from Point A to Point B.
9. TAXPAYER OPPOSITION
In a survey conducted by Utah State University, fully 85 percent of Cache County residents were opposed to modifications to the road. The project will be financed, in part, by those same residents.
10. FISH HABITAT
A cutthroat trout spawning ground on Beaver Creek will probably be destroyed. Fish populations and habitat downstream of Beaver Creek, Temple Fork, Ricks Spring and other areas will be reduced.
Big game will lose forage area, potentially reducing their numbers. Numerous species of wildlife dependent on streamside vegetation will be harmed. Collisions with cars will be more deadly to both animals and drivers due to higher speeds.
12. QUESTIONABLE LEGALITY
The highway project will necessitate excessive changes" to the Wasatch-Cache Forest Plan, which is a legally binding document. Major revision of the forest plan technically requires an entirely new environmental review process, along with extensive public involvement. These conditions have not been met. The' project rests on very shaky " legal ground in other areas as well.
better maintenance of the existing road
more pullouts for slow drivers
several climbing lanes, turning lanes,
and parking areas, and more signs.
preservation of Logan Canyon
truly one of the last,
best places in the West.
Please write a letter to protect Logan Canyon. If you have already written, please write again.
Address your letter to:
Utah Department of Transportation
4501 South 2700 West
Salt Lake City, Utah 84119
A letter to the editor would help too!
Bring a copy of your letter to HANDS ACROSS THE CANYON, or mail it to:
Protect Logan Canyon
198 South 300 West
Logan, Utah 84321
Copies will be mailed to every official and agency with potential influence in this decision, and will be collected for a personal appeal in Washington.
If you can enclose 20 stamps (or a cash contribution for copying and postage expenses) it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
BRIDGERLAND AUDUBON SOCIETY
CITIZENS FOR THE PROTECTION OF LOGAN CANYON
HANDS ACROSS THE CANYON
It is time to protect one of the last, best canyons in the West. On Saturday, April 25, at 11 a.m., there will be a silent vigil held at the top of
Logan Canyon. We will form a human chain across one of the most beautiful limber pine canyons along the road. This heavily forested canyon, bordered by spectacular views of the Bear River Mountains and Bear Lake, is slated to be buried under cut-and -fill rubble. We must not allow this project.
The short vigil will include songs and a period of silence. Each individ ual who is moved to speak on behalf of our canyon will be given a chance to add his or her thoughts to the gathering.
Local, state and national media will be invited. A syndicated article and photo of the event will be released to all major newspapers
and news magazines.
According to an extensive comparison study, Utah is rated almost rock bottom in environmental awareness and protection. It is time to change that, and to demonstrate that people in Utah respect this earth.
The vigil is scheduled the same week as Earth Day, Arbor Day, and the birthdays of John Audubon and John Muir. Let us walk in the vision of these individuals and prepare to make our last stand for the canyon.
The vigil site is located just past the Limber Pine trailhead, at mile post 405.1. Please enter the canyon by 9:30 a.m. and driye slowly in single file through the canyon. Parking will begin at the jeep trail off to the right side, just past the Middle Sinks (mile post 404) and will extend over the summit to the Bear Lake overlook (mile post 406). Parking is limited, so you will need to share rides.
Please utilize every passenger space in your car, and carefully conserve parking space. Plan on arriving at the summit an hour early, as you may have to walk a mile or be ferried to the site. Wear bright colors and stay carefully to the inside shoulder. There will be safety monitors, slow signs, ferries, and parking lot escorts to help you orient yourself. The parking lot nearest to the site will be reserved for media vehicles, post-vigil refreshments, and" green" music (Irish, that is).
BRING A COPY OF YOUR LETTER TO UDOT. Have your children bring hand-painted pictures of Logan Canyon.
This vigil will take place regardless of the weather. We welcome any rain, snow, wind or sun Mother Earth wants to send us. Please contact as many people as possible about this event, so that everyone who wants to can participate.
Please RSVP by April 15 to Nadene or Bruce. For safety reasons, we must have an idea of how many will attend.
If you or your group would like a tour of the canyon, oa Logan Canyon slide show presentation, or information, please call:
Nadene Steinhoff 753-0497
Bruce Pendery 750-0253
GIVE A MILE
We intend to carry our quest to the highest levels. We will visit each overseer agency and press for a reversal on this project decision.
It is 4,000 miles to Washington, D.C. and back. Our trip will cost 20 cents for every mile traveled. Can you help u·s with'our appeal? Each mile you sponsor may save a mile in our canyon. A suggested donation is listed below, although any amount is appreciated. All donations are tax
Child .... 10 miles ($2) .
Adult. ... 100-500 miles ($20-$100)
Business.....250-500 miles ($50-$100)
All donors, along with all heroes and heroines involved in our canyon effort, will be listed in the next issue of The Stilt. Please send your donation to:
Sue Robertson, Treasurer
Bridgerland Audubon Society
1780 East 1400 North
Logan, Utah 84321
CANYON TASK FORCE TO MEET ON APRIL 8
A Canyon Task Force is being organized. We will need massive amounts of time, energy and talent to save our canyon. Meet us at The Bluebird Restaurant on Wednesday, April 8 at 7:30 p.m. Please come ready to work, and with some idea of which committee you would like to help with. Specific "how to" information and details will be provided to each coordinator. Appeal In Washington 3-5 Page Position Paper and Summary of Flaws in EIS Hands Across the Canyon
1 Page Summary
a. Impact on Fisheries
Phone Tree Coordinator b. Impact on Wildlife Habitat
Trash Coordinator Business People for the Canyon
Parking Coordinator Supporters Needed to Organize Appeal
Media Support Services
Coordination With Other Local and State Environmental Groups
SUMMARY OF PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE
Current road width through all sections is 26 feet.
Clear zone requirements through Sections 1B, 2 and 3 are 18-22 feet each side of road.
Begins at Right Hand Fork (4 miles)
Width: 26 feet
Curve cuts: 2 possible
Begins just past Logan cave (4 miles)
Width: 34 feet
Curve cuts: 6
Begins just past Ricks Springs (13 miles)
Width: 6.5 miles at 40 feet
6.5 miles at 47 feet
Curve cuts or realignments: 6
Sections 3A and 3B Summit to Garden City (6 miles)
Width: 47 feet
Curve cuts or realignments: 20
Intersections: 2 or 3
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