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Millville mayor miffed over closure of canyon

Extended ban on vehicles by DWR draws fire

MILLVILLE, Cache County — Mayor Gale Hall is steaming mad over the Division of Wildlife Resources' closure of Millville Canyon to motorized vehicles.

Hall met with DWR officials and was told the agency will stick to its plan to expand the closure that already existed for January through April to protect wintering big game.

"I don't mind if they shut the access down north and south along the deer fence to protect the wildlife habitat during the winter, but there's no valid reason to close it down during the summer," Hall said.

After Hall and council member David Hair met with the DWR officials, Hall received a letter from the DWR restating the intent to bar motorized vehicles from entering the north and south gates along the deer fence.

"They want a letter from me saying, 'Yeah, we're all happy, it's all peachy keen, it's teddy bears and bunny rabbits,' " Hall told the council Thursday. "I think we ought to put the boots on, land right in the middle of their chests and say 'No.' "

The DWR said hikers, bikers and horseback riders will be permitted to enter the gates. Hall said that wasn't good enough.

"There's an approved late hunt in December on the south side, but you can't take a motorized vehicle in there to drag your elk out. You have to walk in there, shoot it, put it on your bicycle and hope you can get it out," Hall said.

The DWR hopes to protect wildlife with the restrictions, but the mayor said people have been going up the canyon for 20 years without affecting the deer population.

"I think they are trying to protect what doesn't need to be protected," council member Larry Lewis said. "They're taking away from the privileges of the people."

Hair said some of the concerns of the DWR are valid.

"You get kids on four-wheelers, and as soon as they let loose, they're going to go try to climb every hill that they can climb as far as they can climb it. That's tearing the terrain up," Hair said.

The mayor said he intends to send a response letter to the DWR expressing his dissatisfaction. Several council members said they would back up the mayor.

"You give them an inch, they'll take a mile," Council member Brian Jensen said. "Send them a letter back saying we're not going to do any of this stuff and send a copy to the paper."