Forest Service has released the draft forest management plan and environmental impact statement for the Manti-La Sal National Forest. This forest covers three areas in southern and central Utah and a small portion of western Colorado encompassing a total of 1.4 million acres. This area provides camping to Moab visitors, OHV routes, and snowmobiling. Comments are due November 16, 2023.

USFS has developed three additional alternatives to the current management (Alternative A). The Forest Service preferred alternative is Alternative B. Alternative C however is the best alternative as it does not recommend any new wilderness and keeps more areas open to motorized uses.

Winter Recreation Maps

The current resource management plan does not have a Winter Recreation Opportunity Spectrum map developed. The maps below show the three proposed management areas within the national forest for winter use. Green and pink indicate non-motorized areas. These maps show the preferred Forest Service alternative, which is Alternative B.

Summer Recreation

The maps below show the current management for summer recreation with the preferred alternative management map. Again, pink and green indicate non-motorized areas. Currently, most areas within the forest are open to motorized roads. The proposed alternative will greatly change that.

The preferred alternative will designate approximately 50% of the forest as a motorized classification for summer use and 60% for winter use. Alternative C will designate more of that open for motorized users.

Other elements of the plan will change recreation opportunities such as limiting camping near lakes.

Dispersed camping would be designated and limited along the following roads:

Moab District:

  • La Sal Loop Road
  • Monticello District: Harts Draw Road #0049, Causeway
  • Road #0095, and North Indian Creek Road #0079; on the Sanpete District: Lake Fork Canyon
  • Road #50070; and on Price and Ferron District: Cottonwood Creek Road #040.

These roads total 95 miles where dispersed camping will be limited. It will still be allowed along other roads in Alternative C.

There are nine administratively proposed recommended wilderness areas, for 122,780 acres and more than that if Alternative D is selected.

Limiting recreation opportunities of any kind will have a negative impact on local economies. The EIS states that economic results will not change based on the alternative selected however, limiting motorized access has a direct affect on local businesses and the USFS needs to recognize this.

Open houses will be held at the following locations and times hosted by USFS:

  • September 7, 2023, 12:30-2:30 p.m. virtual open house. Click here to join the meeting
  • September 19, 2023, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Sanpete County Building, Manti, UT
  • September 20, 2023, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Emery County Courthouse Building, Castle Dale, UT
  • September 21, 2023, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Carbon County Events Center, Price, UT
  • October 17, 2023, 5:30pm-7:30 p.m. at Grand Center, Moab, UT
  • October 18, 2023, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Hideout Community Center, Monticello, UT
  • November 8, 2023, 11:00-1:00 p.m. virtual open house. Click here to join the meeting