Julia Gold 140 South 44th St. Apt. 2A Philadelphia, PA 19104
March 14, 1987
Mr. Clifford Forsgren, Project Manager
CH2M Hill/ Salt Lake City Office
P.O. Box 2218 Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Before moving to Philadelphia last summer I lived in Logan for more than 6 years and have become very attached to the beauty and diverse recreational opportunities of Logan Canyon - a place of striking natural scenery only a five
minute's drive away from my door step in Logan. As a planner
and landscape architect I have become very concerned with
the repeated efforts of the Utah Department of
Transportation to widen portions of highway 89 which serves
primarily recreation traffic to various destinations in the
canyon and to Bear Lake.
The enviromental impacts of road widening in a narrow
canyon especially during the construction phase are
tremendous, ranging from pollutants carried by increased
runoff to complete rechanneling of the river severely
altering flow patterns, stream velocity, the aquatic and the
riparian life zones. However, I will not talk about the
environmental effects here. I assume others who are more
qualified will do so. Instead, I will talk about the scenic
experience one has on Logan Canyon highway and how it will
be affected by the proposed developments.
Beautiful scenery can make driving an enjoyable
experience. Especially when the road changes direction
frequently allowing the driver to enjoy views from a number
of different angles without having to take his eyes away
from the road.
Speed of travel greatly influences what the driver can
see. At high speeds only far away objects will be visible
long enough to be noticed. A wide open valley is suited ver-y
well for high speed travel, because scenery at a distance of
several miles, such as mountain ranges, will be visible long
enough to make an impression on the driver.
In a canyon the time allowed to enjoy a particular view
is greatly reduced if travelling at the same high speeds. In
the wider parts of Logan Canyon from Ricks Springs to Bear
Lake summit a travel speed of 40-50 mph allows the driver to
view a number of peaks and long valleys, such as Steam Mill
Peak, Beaver Mtn. Bunchgrass Canyon, and the Sinks.
In the lower part of the canyon, from First Dam to
Right Hand Fork? the road follows the river in wide arcs
around dominant ridge lines that fade into light blues in
the distance. Each ridge is the gate to a new segment of the
canyon leaving the driver in constant anticipation of what
lies ahead. The road in this part of the canyon has been
widened in the past to allow for travel speeds up to 50 mph
and it includes passing lanes. The general openess and width
of the canyon can accomodate this speed as the driver still
has sufficient time to enjoy the scenery.
The canyon narrows down further after Right Hand Fork.
Steep slopes on either side of the canyon reduce the field
of vision substantially. Even at 25-30 mph one can only
catch a glimpse of the splendid views, sometimes through the
canopy of road side vegetation. It is this part of the
canyon that offers the viewer the most dramatic limestone
walls, wooded slopes, and the closest views of the river
rapids through lush riparian vegetation. Most objects
viewed are within 100 feet of the road. Passing by at speeds
exceeding 30-35 mph would result in nothing more than a
blurr and tunnel vision.
It becomes evident that a widening of the road to allow
for faster travel will only result in a diminished
experience of the canyon's beauty. Logan Canyon highway need
not become a high speed connection for travellers concerned
only with how fast they can reach their point of
destination. Interstate highways serve these needs far
better. Tourists with tight schedules are better advised to
use 1-15 and Rte 30 to travel to Grand Teton and Yellowstone
Logan Canyon jc a scenic attraction in itself. Along
with the valley it may be one of the most memorable
experiences for travellers who enjoy being away from the
fast paced systems of transportation.
Do we want to sacrifice the scenic experience of Logan
Canyon for those who want to beat the lift lines at Beaver
Mountain Ski area or those who race their motor boats up the
canyon on their way to Bear Lake? Granted, some of the
proposed improvements such as bridge replacement, turnoff
lanes, parking areas off the highway, and signs warning of
bicyclists would greatly reduce some of the problems
experienced in the past.
I support only some of the proposed actions in Plan B
spot improvements. Left turning lanes at Tony Grove Lake and
Beaver Mountain will greatly reduce the inherent conflict of
fast moving vehicles, and vehicles waiting to make a left
turn. Many recreational vehicles move slower than the
average traffic resulting in long lines and sometimes
dangerous passing maneuvers. These problems could be
improved by providing turnoff lanes and requiring slower
vehicles to make use of them. I strongly oppose a passing
lane in the dugway section, even though it is the only
feasible stretch of road for a passing lane in that part of
the canyon. The extensive blasting and resulting
destabilization of the above lying steep slopes will cause
ongoing erosion problems for the road as well as add
sediments to the river below.
I feel that an approach, where each segment of road is
studied as a separate problem by weighing the benefits of
improvement against the degree of environmental impact~
responds much better to the unique areas of Logan Canyon.
I urge you to reconsider some of the Plan B spot
improvements proposed for Logan Canyon highway, to assess
the real values of the canyon and the interests of those who
enjoy its recreational and scenic qualities most.
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