According to a Deseret News story on August 31st, “Kane County officials are celebrating what they say is the first concession in Utah of the federal government agreeing to grant right-of-way access to disputed roads that cross federal lands” – for a route known as Skutumpah Road.
But wait a minute . . . way back in 2000, Secretary of Interior Bruce Babbitt determined that Skutumpah, a graded, long-standing road, met the R.S. 2477 requirements. We looked at the history of the road and agreed. No one has opposed the County’s ability to do road work on Skutumpah, as long as the County stays out of adjoining wilderness study areas and Monument lands. Still, Kane County refused to do road work there despite local residents’ repeated pleas for it to fix washouts and erosion, all because they wanted to make a federal case out of their – already recognized – rights to Skutumpah.
(County officials are so bent on creating drama where none exists that they went so far as to remove essential safety signage on routes throughout the County – signs which no one objected to but which are critical to public safety.)
So what’s the County crowing about? That they’ve spent a million dollars on attorneys fees so far and have one route that everyone agreed to over a decade ago.