On October 21, 2005, Monticello Field Office Manager Sandra A. Meyers signed the “Finding of No Significant Impact and Decision Record Environmental Assessment UT – 090-00-47 Indian Creek Corridor Plan and EA Monticello Field Office.” This document basically stated that Mrs. Meyers had “determined that the action will not have a significant effect on the human environment. An environmental impact statement is, therefore, not required.”
With little local support from the citizens of San Juan County, the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) would move forward on developing the federally designated Indian Creek Recreation Area with No Environmental Impact to the area. The Indian Creek Corridor Plan outlines what the BLM was going to do in the area and how the BLM would deal with different types of activities and issues that might come up.
Let’s take a minute a look at what they plan to do, and then we can take a look and see if there was any significant impact to the area.
Here is a list of some of the issues outlined in the plan:
- Rock climbing will remain open to the public and new routes and bolting will be allowed.
- Trails as needed will be allowed, evaluated, and developed by the BLM along with the climbing community.
- Parking areas will be developed in the Indian Creek Corridor and one particular area will include a fully paved parking lot and restrooms.
- BLM will close all the long time public free camping sites in the Indian Creek area to include around Newspaper Rock: camping was closed from News Paper Rock to 9 miles west on HWY 211. The BLM told the public they closed this area because of the danger of flooding.
- The BLM would develop controlled organized camping areas for the public at the following locations: Hamburger Rock, Creek Pasture, Indian Creek Falls, Superbowl, Bridger Jack Mesa, Cottonwood Wash, and Newspaper Rock. They would develop a large parking area at Donnelley Canyon. With all other camping closed it would funnel the public into the BLM’s developed campgrounds so that they would be able to charge for camping if needed and have more control over the public in the recreation area.
- A sanitation and garbage: “pack in pack out” policy would be enforced in all areas of the corridor. If the BLM deemed this to be a problem they would put in portable toilets or restrooms.
- The BLM would also build information Kiosks at these different locations
The 12 page Environmental Assessment document goes on to explain why there is no impact to this area despite all the new developments and construction in the area.
As you can see in the Environmental Assessment it concludes by determining that there will be no significant environmental impact to the Indian Creek Corridor. As far as I can tell this is the same Environmental Assessment that Robert Leaver of the BLM used to close County Road D0570 that ran through the Creek Pasture Campground in the fall of 2011.
Despite the BLM’s original findings that there would be no significant environmental impact there appears to have been a great deal of impact. Since 2005 the BLM has created a large paved parking lot, 8 to 9 permanent restrooms, multiple information kiosks, and several developed campgrounds with picnic tables, fire grills, and gravelled camping areas. They have also allowed the Friends of Indian Creek to put metal donation boxes and advertisements around the kiosks locations.
The development of the Indian Creek Recreation Area has without doubt created a significant Environmental Impact on the environment and the humans that use this area. The following photo’s were taken in the Indian Creek Recreation Area over the last several years. They will clearly illustrate that there is has been a big impact and the BLM has been violating federal law as a result of moving forward with this project without a proper Environmental Assessment (EA). The photos of the road closure D0570 will also confirm that the Robert Leaver violated the “No Significant Impact” ruling of the 2005 EA and should have been charged accordingly.
PHOTO’S OF THE IMPACT TO THE AREA
The above blue line is the Magic blue line that BLM Archaeologist Laird painted on the ground in an attempt to cover up the environmental impact created by Robert Leaver.
NO CAMPING SIGNS
The next three pictures were taken before the BLM decided to create the Creek Pasture Campground.
It is very clear that there has been significant impact to humans and the Indian Creek Corridor. The Environmental Assessment that was signed by BLM Manager Meyers in 2005 was not followed or adhered to by the administration and employee Robert Leaver as these pictures illustrate. This has been brought to the attention of the San Juan County Commissioners and the BLM to no avail.
The BLM should be held accountable and be forced to follow the rules they require everyone else to follow. If you agree then contact the Monticello BLM Field Office or the San Juan County Commissioners and file a complaint that the BLM has violated their own 2005 Environmental Assessment and should be held accountable.
Here is the BLM contact information:
Monticello Field Office
365 North Main Street
Monticello, Utah 84535
The new Field Office Manager is: Donald Hoffheins firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is the San Juan County Commissioners Contact Information:
Office (435) 587-3225