Residents of a Salt Lake east-bench area oppose a proposed land trade involving Ogden's Taylor Canyon area that could cost them their own small parcel of national forest land.
"Seems like the only way we can stop it is to gather about 400 people who will make it so miserable you don't do it," Gary Davis told Forest Service officials during a Mount Olympus Community Council meeting Wednesday night.The Forest Service is proposing to swap 6 acres of forestland near Holladay for 937 acres in Taylor Canyon.
The swap would ensure public access to the canyon, officials say.
Ogden District Ranger Randy Welsh said about 10,000 people use Taylor Canyon annually.
"Admittedly, most of them are from the Ogden area, but the hiking trails in the area are described in all the local hiking guides," Welsh said.
"If you balance 10,000 people against our 400, we don't have a chance," said Salt Lake County resident Joe Mongold, who is planning to coordinate efforts to halt the land trade.
Another resident of the area, Denny Anderson, said, "No one will disagree that Ogden ought to get Taylor Canyon . . . but there should be alternatives. Why doesn't the Forest Service just buy the land outright?" he said.
Salt Lake District Ranger Michael Sieg said the Wasatch-Cache Forest gets only about $30,000 a year for land acquisition. Officials estimate the two proposed swap areas each are worth as much as $500,000.
"One alternative is that you could buy the Ogden property and donate it to the Forest Service," Sieg suggested.
The Taylor Canyon property was purchased by P&G Investments from Union Pacific Railroad about three years ago, Welsh said. The company sold 16 acres of developable land at the mouth of the canyon and then approached the Forest Service about a trade for the remainder.
The Salt Lake County property is bordered by development on two sides and has a road running through it.