Supervisor, Wasatch-Cache National Forest
125 South State St.
Salt Lake City, Utah, 84111
February 10, 1989
I regret I was unable to attend the meeting concerning the
Logan Canyon Highway Project on February 3. Unfortunately, it was
necessary for me to be out of Logan.
I have read the latest (Jan. 20th) version of the Agency Alternative
for the project, and I am greatiy concerned. I do not wish to analize
it in detail here, but only to give you some general comments:
1. This is basically the high speed alternative in the preliminary
DEIS. We appear to be just about where we were over two years (and
endless amounts of time and energy) ago.
2. The middle section of the Canyon has been reduced to only 4 miles from
Right Fork to lower Twin Bridge; we regard the middle section as
the entire distance from Right Fork to Ricks Springs. This redesignation,
with the attendent upgrading of the road to a 35 mph design (probably
50 mph signing) from Twin Bridge to Ricks Springs is unacceptable, since
the consequent environmental damage will be severe.
3. The high speed design of the upper section will result in unacceptable
environmental impacts, particularly in the Beaver Creek and
4. There are several safety concerns with respect to the placement
of passing lanes, especially in the Dugway and near the Limber Pine
5. The implementation of this alternative requires 45 (!) ammendments
to the Forest Plan, surely a new worlds record for any forest
plan involving a single project. The cumulative effect of this large
number of ammendments is such that a major change in The Plan will
be required - a revision, with everything that implies. Attempts to
get by with an ammendment will certainly be appealed.
6. The Agency Alternative has little detail, making analysis of
its impacts by citizens not throughly acquainted with both the area and
the previous history almost impossible. If it appears as such in the
EIS, the EIS will be challenged as not meeting NEPA criteria.
7. The cover letter sent with the alternative, bearing the signatures
of the three agency engineers, attempts to disclaim the alternative
as a "preferred" alternative. This is, to say the least, disingeneous.
Any alternative that is endorsed by a Forest Service representative is clearly destined to become the "preferred alternative."
I wish to repeat something live said in previous meetings with you: we
accepted the Forest Plan on the assumption it was to be taken seriously
by you. It states, e.g., that "The road will not be raised to a higher
standard than existing." (Chapter 6, p. 236). Other places in the plan
are clear about maintining the scenic quality of the highway (VQO classification,
e.g.). You have recently designated the highway as a "Scenic
Byway". If the Plan had proposed the kinds of changes found in the Agency
Alternative, it certainly would have been appealed. To abandon the Plan
now, under pressure from UDOT and FHWA, is to break faith with the environmental
community and reduce Forest Service credibility to a new low. Sincerely, Jack T. Spence Dept. of Chemistry Utah State University Logan, Ut 84322
cc: Dave Baumgartner
Dick Carter UWA
Bruce Pendery Bridgerland Audubon
Rudy Lukez Utah Chapter, Sierra Club
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