The Department of Wildlife Resources told Juab County Commissioners the department would like the right to restrict access to elk herds that winter on a refuge near the old Doc Steele Ranch near Mona.

John Fairchild, representing DWR, asked commissioners if there was a way to control public access on the road with a gate. "Keys could be provided for those who need them," said Fairchild."You gate and lock a B-road and you loose your funding," said Randy Freston, county engineer and administrator. He said it was a basic rule of B-road funding that such roads be kept open to the public. As long as they are open, maintenance funds are available.

Fairchild said the DWR would like the road closed to general public access from Dec. 1 to April 15.

The commission's concern, said County Attorney Don Eyre Jr., is that the DWR recognize the road as public access. If the road is gated for security reasons, all those with a need to access the road would need a key.

DWR has previously gated the road, only to have to take the gate down after being notified by the county.

Freston suggested the DWR consider using fences to limit public access to the elk.

"We would have to spend several thousand dollars for such a fence," said Fairchild. The road is mostly impassable in the winter months at any rate, he said. "Do we need ruts everywhere?"

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Commissioner Gordon Young told Fairchild there was already a fence on the south side of the road. "All you would need is to build a fence on the north to the next road," said Young.

Young also noted there are groups needing access to the area during winter months, specifically those charged with maintaining the area water system.

In addition, he said, the county did not want to establish a precedent for allowing B-roads to be gated. "Because of the funding, the problem of setting a precedent, because of access to needed system, people who have rights to be in the area, and because of water systems the County Commission will not favor gating the road," said Young.

Legally, said Young, the public did have a right to access to the road.

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