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Utah Travel Headlines

Monday, February 14, 2011

BLM Considers Paving Road In Nine Mile Canyon

Nine Mile Canyon is one of the best places in the US to see and study ancient Native American rock art figures. The canyon is located near Price, in eastern-central Utah.

Large quantities of natural gas and possibly oil have been located in the area and so energy development is prompting improvements to roads and infrastructure in the remote area. The Nine Mile Canyon Road provides access to some existing wells and to sites of potential new wells. As a result, traffic in the canyon has increased tremendously and large trucks are kicking up dust, which coats the canyon walls and obstructs views of the rock art.

Much debate has raged over how much protection the canyon merits. The area is managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management. The Bill Barrett Corporation is doing much of the energy exploration. Now BLM and Barrett are cooperating on a proposal to pave some of the road in the canyon.

Public comment is being sought on the proposal. The Deseret News has this article about the proposal. Below are excerpts.

A 36-mile section of the road going through Nine Mile Canyon will have improvements made to it — such as laying of chip and seal — to control dust that may be kicked up from a nearby drilling operation.

The Price field office of the Bureau of Land Management is hosting two meetings to discuss granting a right-of-way to Carbon County in support of the project. The meetings will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Carbon County Fairgrounds & Event Center, 310 S. Fairgrounds Road, Price, and from 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 17 at the Duchesne County Administration Building, 734 N. Center St., Duchesne.

Bill Barrett Corp., has a significant drilling operation on the West Tavaputs that necessitates heavy truck traffic on the road. Environmentalists and archaeologists have been concerned that dust and vibrations will damage the canyon's rock art panels, which number more than 10,000 and are said to be the world's largest collection of rock art.

Input on the project is being accepted by the BLM through Feb. 25 and can be faxed, mailed or emailed.

Comments should reference "Nine Mile Road Improvement Project," and should be directed to the BLM, Connie Leschin, 125 S. 600 West, Price, Utah, 84501, or faxed to 435-636-3657, or e-mailed to UT_PR_Comments@blm.gov

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