|Salt Lake County Road Claims,
Dating back as far as 2000,
Salt Lake County has been making claims to existing roads within the Counties
boundaries. Many of those claims involved historic trails within Big Cottonwood
Canyon. On December 31st, Salt Lake Mayor Nancy Workman and her office,
dropped claim to eight of those roads, Workman claimed "I couldn't give
them a reason they were on there" as her reason for dropping the claims
to the roads.
Mill F East
Mill D South
Fork (Cardiff Fork)
Mill Creek Canyon
Mill D North
The Mayors office considers
many of these roads to be "old mining claim trails", citing that "Jeeps
are outlawed on them and always have been". This is simply FALSE,
many of these roads were/are open to use within the last 30 years. Mineral
Fork is currently open to ATV's, until a recent rockslide, it was
open to Jeeps. Cardiff Fork is still passable in Jeep, it was open
to public motorized recreation in the early-90's. Days Fork was also passable
in the last few century's. These trails were all closed by the USFS due
to so-called "environmental concerns". Had the County previously claimed
these roads while they were currently open, it would have been much harder
for the USFS to strip us of our rights to public lands.
(courtesy of Chris "EZRhino" Perri, Chris is highly-educated in the Big
Cottonwood Area and has researched/recreated the affected areas)
Fork: up until 1983, had a road very much passable by four
wheel drives. In fact
there was a pair of old wooden bridges in one spot to
help 10 wheeled dump trucks
negotiate the tight, steep switchbacks to access
the Wasatch Tunnel and Regulator
mines at the top of the canyon. The
current road was built in
1936, but was actually the third generation road
(the second generation road
was built prior to 1899). The bottom of the
present road was badly washed
out in '83, taking the banks of earth and the
wood bridges along with
it. Apparently the Forest Service never bothered
repairing it (big surprise).
Due to the washout and lack of maintenance,
the canyon is open today
to ATV's only. I find it wholly ludicrous that the
greatest numbers of registered
ATV's in the state is found in Salt Lake
County, yet Mineral Fork
is the ONLY legal trail in the ENTIRE COUNTY where
one can drive an ATV.
I find this both astonishing and disheartening at the
same time. How can
the county expect users to "follow the rules" and "stay
off the foothills", etc.,
when they only provide 2.1 miles of legal trails
to ride on??
Fork: a.k.a. Mill D North Fork, also referred to as South Fork
Big Cottonwood Creek:
This canyon has a long history of mining, since the
1870's. The first
route up it was a trail known as the Goodspeed Trail,
built in 1870 to access
the Reed and Benson Mine high on the ridge between
Cardiff Fork and Days Fork.
The following year a road was built following
the same path. The
largest mine in the canyon, the Cardiff Mine, began in
1901. Between 1905
and 1910 the Cardiff Mining and Milling Co. built a
better road to their mine
located 3/4 of the way up the canyon. It mainly
paralleled the old road
but did away with some of the steep grades so that
large Knox tractors could
get to the mine, pulling six to twelve trailers
behind them to bring the
ore down the canyon. Each trailer had a six ton
capacity. The Cardiff
mine was worked well into the 1960's. From then
until 1992, the canyon was
open to recreational four wheel drive vehicles
and motorcycles. In
1992 the canyon was closed to all motorized use with
the exception of private
land owners. I have both hiked and driven Cardiff
fork on numerous occasions,
including last summer. The roads in Cardiff are
still in excellent condition,
despite being closed to the general public for
the last ten years.
In 1991 the Storm Mountain 4x4 Club adopted the canyon
and provided maintenance
with the oversight of the Forest Service before its
Fork: The Eclipse shaft was dug in 1880, and a road built up
Days Fork from the big Cottonwood
Canyon Road during that time period to get
equipment to the mine.
There is one dugway I remembered while hiking to the
mine two summers ago, and
I later found out that it is called the Hirschman
Dugway, named after the
mine's superintendent. I still do not know when
motorized traffic was suspended
on this road, but I can tell you that
although very narrow, it
wouldn't take much work to make it jeep worthy. If
fact, I wouldn't hesitate
taking mine up it.
Fork: The road to the top of Silver Fork was built in either
1870 or 1871. Another
road from the Price of Wales mine high on the ridge
connected Silver Fork with
Alta via Grizzly Gulch. Both roads remained in
operation until the mid
1930's. In 1913 a better road was built to the Alta
Tunnel (located not far
up Silver Fork) which superceded the earlier road.
This later road wrapped
around the mountain and joined the canyon highway
where Solitude's lower parking
lot is today. Presently the road to the Alta
Tunnel is drivable by any
passenger car. Above the mine the old road has
deteriorated a lot, but
is certainly passable. It is easy to tell that it
was suitable for vehicles
at one time.
Questions to Answer:
Does "claiming" these roads
automatically mean they are open to vehicular travel?
What does the County have
to lose by claiming these roads?
Why would the County attempt
to claim these roads for 3+ years, just to drop them in a heartbeat?
Why the Mayors office was
unable to justify the claims?
abandons claims to eight roads (12/31/03 Salt Lake Tribune)
worries road fight could affect watershed (7/31/03 Salt Lake Tribune)
roads erased from list of byways (1/7/04 Salt Lake Tribune)
What Can You Do?
Take a minute to write/email
ALL of the following:
Salt Lake County Mayors
Salt Lake County Mayor
Salt Lake County Council:
- (801) 468-2936 firstname.lastname@example.org
- (801) 468-2939 email@example.com
- (801) 468-2934 firstname.lastname@example.org
- (801) 468-2933 email@example.com
- (801) 468-2932 firstname.lastname@example.org
- (801) 468-2931 email@example.com
- (801) 468-2937 firstname.lastname@example.org
Cortland G. Ashton
- (801) 468-2935 email@example.com
- (801) 468-2938 firstname.lastname@example.org
Utah Attorney Generals
Please Carbon Copy all emails
We will be taking hard copies
to the County Mayors Office in an upcoming visit.
Things to write
Why you think it is important
the county claims these roads...
Why you think the public
has "reasonable interest" in maintaining access to public lands...
Your concerns that the USFS
will continue to close all motorized access to public lands...
The fact that the Salt Lake
County should assert our rights to public lands under the RS2477 law...
to Land Use