The Division of Wildlife Resources wants each winter to close a road that passes through critical habitat for wintering deer and elk.
"Recently, we were made aware of the fact that the Wash Canyon Road is on the county's Class B system, and the division is not authorized to restrict vehicle access on this road," said Jordan C. Pederson, DWR regional supervisor, in a letter to Juab County Commissioners.Pederson said the DWR needs permission to close the road to effectively manage the property.
"The division purchased the property because it provides critical habitat for wintering mule deer and elk," said Pederson. The DWR needs to restrict vehicle access through the property during winter and spring to minimize disturbances to big game, he said.
"We had hoped to be able to lock both main entrances (the one at the Steele Ranch and the one near the Wash Canyon underpass) from Dec. 1 through April 30," said Pederson. People will continue to harass the elk herd that congregates on the old farm unless the road is closed, he said.
If an exception cannot be made to allow the closure of the road, said Pederson, the DWR would request the road be removed from the county system.
The issue will be placed on the agenda at 10 a.m. on the June 20 commission meeting.
Commissioner Ike Lunt said closing the road would affect access to the Forest Service. The road leads to the Forest Service boundary.
"The DWR could put a fence along the road on their property," suggested Commisioner Gordon Young.
A B-designated road could only be closed, said Lunt, if a public hearing is held and citizens approve the closure. "Closing a road is not as easy to do as people think."