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Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forests Temporary Closure

Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forests Temporary Closure

woodlands in Uinta Wasatch national forest

In continuation of the Mule Deer Foundation’s consistent and perpetual stewardship of mule deer habitat in the state of Utah, the Mule Deer Foundation, in partnership with the USDA Forest Service and Utah D.N.R.’s Watershed Restoration Initiative, is conducting a forestry project designed to promote wildlife habitat, forest resilience, and improved recreational experience along the popular Whitney Road area of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.

The Evanston-Mountain View Ranger District has issued a temporary area closure to ensure public safety and efficient operations during this habitat project, as follows:

Pursuant to 16 U.S.C. § 551 and 36 C.F.R. § 261.50 (a) and (b), the following acts are prohibited on the National Forest System Area and Roads in the Evanston/Mt. View Rangers Districts, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forests. Described below and shown on the attached map incorporated into this Order as Exhibit A. This Order will be in effect June 17, 2024, and shall remain in effect until July 18, 2024, unless rescinded.

1. Being in or upon the Whitney Road (Forest Service Road #80032) and Whitney Motorized Trailhead #8612 weekly, starting Mondays at 8 am through Thursdays at 5:30 pm. This includes all pedestrians, equestrians, bicycles, and any type of motorized vehicle. [36 CFR 261.53(e)]

2. Being in or upon the Bear River Resilience Phase 4 Project Area, including all roads Anshutz Road (Forest Service Road #80803), Mill City Creek Road (Forest Service Road #84141), Mill City Creek 2-A Road (Forest Service Road #84142-A), Mill City Creek 2-B Road (Forest Service Road #84142-B), Whitney Mill City Jct. Road (Forest Service Road #80668), Whitney Mill City Jct. 2 Road (Forest Service Road #80660), Mill City Gold Hill Creek Road (Forest Service Road #80109), and dispersed camping areas within the project area. This includes all pedestrians, equestrians, bicycles, and any type of motorized vehicle. [36 CFR 261.53(e)]

Evan DeHamer, the Mule Deer Foundations Biologist managing this habitat project, had this to say,

“We’d like to thank the public for their understanding during this process. It means a lot that the people of Utah are willing to go through a little inconvenience on behalf of mule deer in the north-central portion of the state.”

“Mule Deer are an iconic species representing the wildness not only of Utah but of the American West as a whole; improving their habitat and increasing the size of the herd in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forests will have lasting positive effects in the region for generations to come.”

During this portion of the ongoing work in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, the Mule Deer Foundation, with the support of the USFS, will conduct 76 acres of conifer thinning, skidding, and decking of merchantable material by heavy machinery. This strategic thinning aims to promote aspen stand resilience, overall forest stand diversification, and reduced fire risk within the recreational area.

“A robust system of aspen stands in this critical spring/summer habitat, provides much-needed nutrition to doe mule deer during the fawning season and creates excellent fawning cover where young mule deer can seek refuge from predators during their most vulnerable life stage. These two aspects of the mule deer habitat are in great demand in the North Slope of the Uintas migration corridor. Projects like this have a direct and immediate impact on the mule deer herd in Utah, and through its implementation and success, Utah will have huntable numbers of mule deer for years.” -DeHamer.

This project is partly funded by the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, as well as contributions from M.D.F. and other Utah partners (see the Funding section for a publicly available breakdown). It is a Mule Deer Foundation-contracted and led project funded by W.R.I, working with the crew of the U.W. C. Evanston-Mt View Ranger District. An additional ~1,750 acres of active work contracted by M.D.F. will be ongoing this summer, with no anticipated closures associated with those projects.

Although main road closures will be lifted Friday through Sunday to allow recreational use, forestry work will continue over several weekends in areas further removed from established recreation areas. Please stay alert if you are recreating near the project. Thank you for your patience and continued support of mule deer in Utah and the Mule Deer Foundation’s habitat conservation work.

Links for more information (publicly available):

W.R.I. project map – https://wri.utah.gov/wri/map/map.html#id=6520

W.R.I. project summary – https://wri.utah.gov/wri/reports/ProjectSummaryReport.html?id=6520

U.W.C. alerts page: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/uwcnf/alerts-notices

UWC Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=uinta%20wasatch%20cache%20national%20forest

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