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Snow College now has its own home on the range.

The U.S. Forest Service has granted the college a five-year renewable special use permit to establish and operate the Great Basin Environmental Education Center at its Great Basin headquarters 10 miles up Ephraim Canyon.The facility includes six buildings - five of them residences once occupied by Forest Service research personnel - located on an 80-acre fenced plot as well as a power light, a telephone line and the Alpine cabin near the canyon summit.

Plans for the establishment of the Environmental Education Center are now in the works, according to college officials. It will be the site for workshops, seminars, extension classes and field studies.

And it will probably also offer a wintertime recreation program, officials add.

Steve Peterson, a Snow College faculty member, will be the center's director. "The center will enhance our educational offering and also serve the entire college community," Peterson said.

The facility served as headquarters for Great Basin Experimental Range - a 4,500-acre area in Ephraim Canyon which for more than a half-century has been the scene of major research projects on the rehabilitation of Great Basin wild lands.

A five-member board will have representatives from Snow College, the Forest Service and Utah State University. The board will establish policies and procedures for the management of the Education Center.

In another transfer of authority, the Manti-LaSal National Forest's Sanpete Ranger District will have jurisdiction over the Great Basin Experimental Range, a jurisdiction formerly residing in the Intermountain Research Station of Ogden.

That transfer is being made to facilitate management, Ranger Tom Shore explained.

Research on wild lands rehabilitation still continue in Ephraim Canyon, much of it in association with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

That research involves studies in watershed protection, revegetation and long-time ecological enhancement. Plant selection, plant palatability, seed production, equipment development and a sampling of research projects.

The 4,500-acre range provides for experimental plots in a variety of soil, moisture and climatic conditions. Over the years, hundreds of scientists - some from foreign countries - visited the experimental plots on the Range and studied the data they provided on wildlands preservation.

The headquarters facility, which will now become home to the Great Basin Environmental Education Center, became available when much of the research was transferred to the Intermountain Research Station's shrub lab in Provo.

That meant research scientists and their families would no longer need to live much of the year in residences 10 miles up Ephraim Canyon. The headquarters station soon became almost a ghost town. But unlike most ghost towns, it will now live again.