In Utah’s fight against federal land management, sometimes you take huge steps – like trying to sue to get state control of all those millions of acres – and sometimes you take small bites.
Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, likes the big land challenges. But he also likes the small bites.
He introduced two such bites Wednesday, HB398 and HB401.
Both deal with technical legal issues, and, says Noel, attempts to keep Utah out of legal trouble with land issues and/or make federal officials follow established procedures.
To a larger issue, it is Noel’s constant attempt to fight state battles against SUWA – the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance – and federal land managers.
The second bill takes away a statute of limitations concerning a “quiet” land title and RS2477 roads, the former bill the proper procedure for federal land managers, often U.S. Forest Service officials, in closing what Noel says are “established” dirt roads over federal land.
Specifically, says Noel, in the Duck Creek area of the Dixie National Forest some roads – even roads that have recently been maintained by county officials – are being blocked off by federal managers.
“We at times have 10,000 folks up there in the forest, and if there were a wildfire, they couldn’t get out (safely) because some of the side roads have been closed,” says Noel.
His bill says that before federal officials can close, or put up barricades, they must go through local county commissions, as Noel believes current federal rules require.
Small bites, perhaps.
But when it comes to Noel and his constant, ongoing, battle with federal land managers even the small bites count.