United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service Logan Ranger District 860 N. 1200 E. Logan, UT 84321 Reply to: 1950 Date: June 1, 1988
655 Canyon Road
Logan, UT 84321
Thank you for your recent letter, Tom. It helped. I think I see more clearly
wha t your concerns are.
One of the problems I have had with this issue is the fact that people have not
clearly understood what we are trying to do. I have struggled with what we
should do to better explain our position. Perhaps I am too optimistic to assume
that a win win situation is possible. I think it is, but all parties of the
issue must want to work to that end. It will not work otherwise.
I do not like compromise. In a compromise no one wins. UDOT and the Federal
Highway folks think they have compromised. They expect you to do the same, and
do not understand why you cannot. In my view, I think they are wrong. Because,
if people have a concern it ought to be resolved, even if it takes a long time.
Working with people is what we are to do. Sometimes we forget this. Today the
Forest Service is beginning to use mediators to help resolve problems like
this. Still, the solution could be a form of compromise assuming the mediator
is successful. The consensus is the better solution.
Changes to Logan Canyon cannot happen if there is not sound and reasonable
purpose for the change. A highway standard taken from some manual is not
sufficient reason by itself to justify change. This point will always be a
problem between the Forest Service and the highway engineer.
Political compromise is a reality. But if we ever do that, at the expense of
the environment, then we have abdicated our responsibilities as natural resource
managers and public land stewards. The higher up the ladder a decision is made,
the more political it becomes. It is in the best interest of all of us to make
the decision as low on the ladder as possible. This is one reason why I make
the point that we need to work for a win win solution if we can, or there is no
deal. A no deal means I will make the recommendations as to what I think ought
to be done, but someone else will make the eventual decision.
You understand, I think, what the win win is all about. I think you support it
although skeptically. My problem is, I am not sure UDOT is comfortable with the
thought. They would like to plow through the issue, and if necessary, let the
courts decide. Sometimes this is successful, but leaves bitter enemies.
The person who will stand up and say, "Well we must have made the right
decision, nobody is happy with it" misses the real point here. Political
decision makers sometimes like to talk like that. We are better than that.
compromise is a last resort. But all sides of this issue will force us into a
compromise situation if we cannot work towards a reasonable and proper decision.
Tom, your thoughts on validating decisions with solid data are good ones. We do
not want to draw you into a consensus without a good review of the facts. My
only hope was, because of the expense of drafting plan after plan, was to at
least philosophically agree, so the design people could draft a more accurate
plan for review. This by no means reduces the need for careful study of the
results, nor does it lock us into any position. It was just a starting point.
The draft of the draft EIS is not acceptable to anyone I know of at this time.
Much work remains to be done on it.
Sometimes, Tom, I sound like I am preaching to you. I do not mean to do that.
But I am confused too. As I visit with each of you I hear one thing, but
subsequent communication is different. You mentioned the bridges. Are they an
issue now? Rudy told me some time ago that he and one or two other examined the
bridges and agreed with the engineer's assessment. Because of that I haven't
worried about the bridges.
UDOT will not build the type of highway they recommended last.' That is not
acceptable to the Forest Service. The committee of three, are trying to reach
consensus on what realistically ought to be done. The ideas I bounced off of
you and others were attempts to resolve the issues you mentioned. If they do
not, then it is back to the idea arena again. I think this is a point many do
not understand. The committee is working for us, you and me. Their objective
is to design the right highway. You ideas and my ideas are just as important as
My fear is that we cannot tear down the walls and work together on this. Right
now I do not have either you or the State convinced that this is possible. The
walls are very thick and high. You fears of a political solution are valid if
the walls stay up.
I think we have solved the riparian and fish habitat issues. But we have not
solved the aesthetic issue yet. At least not totally. Your concerns have been
passed on to the committee with a note from me supporting your concerns.,
The Forest plan is one of the more difficult decisions UDOT must make before
they can start work again on the EIS. If what they eventually propose and agree
to is outside the current direction in the Forest plan, those changes, the
environmental documentation, and decision must be addressed in this EIS. If
that is not possible, then a separate environmental document must be prepared.
I do not know which way this will go at this time. We are pushing for them to
do it. You are right, the Forest plan could become a significant issue.
Keep up the good work.
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