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HELP OFFERED FOR MUELLER PARK

SHARE HELP OFFERED FOR MUELLER PARK

Volunteers plan to spend a year fixing Mueller Park, but the U.S. Forest Service still will have to charge an entrance fee unless someone agrees to maintain the park daily, according to Wasatch-Cache National Forest rangers.

"What it boils down to is that we've got to take care of that place every day or the work we do is going to be a waste of money," said Jim White, recreation ranger.The 57-member Bountiful Jeep Posse offered last week to work thousands of hours next year to fix the deteriorating park, hoping its efforts would keep the Forest Service from charging a $2 fee.

The park sits on National Forest land east of Bountiful Boulevard and gets 50,000 to 60,000 visitors a year. That, and lack of federal money since the early 1970s, have led to erosion, broken equipment and pollution. The Forest Service proposed in October that it charge fees to pay for the repairs and daily upkeep. Otherwise, it said, it might have to close the park.

City leaders balked at the plan and suggested residents would be willing to help.

The posse, which helped the city with repairs during the 1951 and 1983 floods, said its members could handle construction projects requiring heavy equipment if the city or other agencies could provide materials.

The Forest Service is happy to have the help. But, said White, "No one has actually said they'd take over daily maintenance."

Rangers must know by the middle of February.