THE LOGAN CANYON BULLETIN
CITIZENS FOR THE PROTECTION OF LOGAN CANYON JANUARY 1991
The Question of Logan Canyon
...is not as big as acid rain, or ozone depletion, to be sure--but it might be an indicator. It can tell us how sincere we are, and how thorough, in our '90s leaning toward the land. Here is a deep, beautiful and winding canyon, gradually shallowing as it ascends into an open country of high meadows and ridge-top forests. For decades now this canyon has held a fairly modest two-lane road that winds eastward from Logan with the lay of the land, eventually crests a 7800-foot summit of the Wasatch Range, and then drops swiftly in switchbacks to Bear Lake. The whole forty miles, in any season, is a treat to the eye, because this is one of the few Wasatch Front river canyons where the road has not become the dominant feature of the landscape.
It still looks like respected country.
-- Tom Lyon
Logan Canyon: Here and Now
For the last thirty years there has been a drive to punch a wider, straighter, faster highway through Logan Canyon. In 1961, five miles of the lower canyon were "improved"; in 1968, six more-up to the Right Hand Fork. But then came the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in 1970, and the road straighteners no longer have a perfectly free hand. Now they have to justify their plans, and discuss alternatives, and now we too have a say in what happens.
Under the requirements of NEPA, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) has been researching the environmental impacts of different
construction plans. After several years and the expenditure of over three quarters of a million dollars, they've come up with a draft study that
doesn't specify a "preferred alternative." Unfortunately, their study, in the view of many, has been marked by slipshod procedures, insufficient data, and lack of consideration for the environment.
Now it is up to those of us who care about the beauty and intactness of Logan Canyon to come forward and make a stand. Citizens for the
Protection of Logan Canyon have made their own study of the canyon and have prepared the Conservationists' Alternative, which is included in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).
We urge you to give the Conservationists' Alternative your careful examination, to write a letter, and to make a statement at the public meeting on the DEIS. You can make a difference!
The Conservationists' Alternative
The goal of this alternative is a highway that fits into Logan Canyon with minimal ecological disturbance and maximum safety, rather than a highway that moves the greatest number of people through the canyon at the highest rate of speed. The Conservationists' Alternative meets this goal, but it is not a do-nothing alternative. Current roadway width and alignment would be maintained throughout the canyon, with the following exceptions:
• Bridges and culverts replaced and widened to 28 feet, with all but Lower Twin Bridges kept on the existing alignment.
• Turning lanes constructed at Tony Grove Recreation Area and Beaver Mountain Ski Area.
• Climbing lanes constructed above Red Banks Campground, below the state sheds, and in the Sinks area, but not at the Dugway.
• Increased traffic law enforcement.
• Slow vehicle turnouts and multipurpose parking constructed at several locations.
• Roadbed raised near Logan Cave and in several other locations to avoid spring flooding.
WE URGE YOU TO SUPPORT THIS ALTERNATIVE
What Can You Do to Help Protect Logan Canyon?
Support the Conservationists' Alternative.
Write a letter expressing your concerns.
Speak out at the public meeting in Logan.
Writing a Letter is as Easy as One, Two, Three
First: Introduce yourself. Mention why you are concerned about Logan Canyon and experiences you have had there.
Second: Support the Conservationists' Alternative. Also point out problems in the DEIS. You can refer to the above lists for details; or write to us for more information.
Third: Put your return address on the letter, sign it, and date it.
Send your letter to:
Utah Dept. of Transportation
4501 South 2700 West
Salt Lake City, Utah 84119
To get a copy of the DEIS, call:
Letters must be mailed by February 1, 1991.
Letter-writing workshops will be held at A Book Store, 130 North 100 East, Logan 7:00 p.m., on Thursday, January 3; Monday, January 7; and Thursday, January 10. Despite what some say, the road builders do "count votes." So speak out!
Other Alternatives Considered in the DEIS
After careful study, Citizens for the Protection of Logan Canyon concluded that these alternatives would compromise safety, destroy the canyon's unique environment, or both. These alternatives include:
• "Standard Arterial" - The widest, straightest, highest-speed alternative. With wide shoulders and "recovery areas" adjacent to the road, well over twice as much land would be disturbed as at present. Large cuts would scar hillsides, and the road would intrude into the river.
• "Modified Standard" - Identical to the Standard Arterial, except the roadway width would be somewhat less in the narrow and scenic middle section of Logan Canyon. There would be fewer cuts than under the Standard Arterial.
• "Composite Alternative" - A combination of the Standard and Modified Alternatives. It is a late addition to the list of alternatives and retains many severe environmental impacts, such as a climbing lane at the Dugway. It would also have more adverse effects on streams in the upper part of the canyon.
• "Spot Improvement" - Road width would not change; however, hillsides would be cut to straighten curves, and climbing and turning lanes would be built in environmentally sensitive areas.
• "No Action" - NEP A requires agencies to consider this alternative in a DEIS. There are legitimate construction needs in Logan Canyon, however, so conservationists have not supported this alternative. Shaded area shows one of the highway cuts proposed under several of the alternatives.
Unfortunately, these alternatives and the DEIS itself have some serious flaws, including:
• Disturbance of the river and loss of riparian habitats are not adequately addressed.
• Impacts on wildlife, especially fish, nongame species, and the threatened Maguire's Primrose, are weakly treated.
• Disposal of rubble, many thousands of cubic yards under some alternatives, is ignored.
• Greater accident frequency or severity is possible with increased speeds under some alternatives; this possibility is not addressed.
• Site-specific impacts are addressed vaguely; mitigation is put off until the "design phase" which is some unspecified time in the future.
• Worst-case traffic projections are used to justify major modifications to the highway, yet Logan Canyon is often only lightly travelled.
• The safety record for Logan Canyon is not compared with similar mountain roads; yet safety is a major concern and is the rationale for some construction.
• Logan Canyon is nationally renowned for its scenery, and has been designated a Scenic Byway, yet this prominence is not discussed.
Logan Canyon Cannot Speak for Itself
But you can speak for Logan Canyon.
A public hearing on Logan Canyon is scheduled for Tuesday, January 15, 1991, at the Mt. Logan Middle School Auditorium, 875 N. 200 East, Logan.
If you plan to speak, you will need to arrive early to sign up if required.
The points that apply to letter writing also apply to your spoken comment. It is likely that the time allotted to each speaker will be about five minutes, so please prepare your comments accordingly. IT you can both speak at the hearing and write a letter, do both. Even if you do not plan to speak, please attend the hearing to show your support for Logan Canyon.
Printed on recycled paper Photos by Scott T. Smith
"Improvement makes straight roads; but the crooked roads, without improvement, are roads of genius." -William Blake
LOGAN CANYON is at risk. LOGAN CANYON needs you.
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