Mill Park Forest Restoration Project

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On April 9th, 2020, Y2U, along with Grand Canyon Trust, The Wilderness Society, and Western Resource Advocates submitted comments on the Mill Park Forest Restoration Project proposed by the Roosevelt-Duchesne Ranger District of the Ashley National Forest.  The Project will involve approximately 3,225 acres of vegetative treatments and stream and meadow restoration activities at the head of Hells Canyon on the Ashley National Forest.  The vegetation treatments would consist of commercial timber treatments on 2,646 acres (methods are sanitation-salvage, overstory removal, clear-cut, and shelterwood harvest, along with the construction of up to 8 miles of temporary roads), post-harvest planting on 1,170 acres and pre-commercial thinning on 379 acres.  We oppose the Mill Park project due to the potential to significantly impair the wilderness characteristics of lands that are currently under consideration for a wilderness designation. The project also violates the Roadless Rule based on the facts and information provided in the Draft Environmental Assessment (EA).  This project is untimely because it is being proposed during an ongoing land management plan revision for the Ashley National Forest while at the same time proposing an amendment to the current forest plan that is soon to be replaced. The new management plan directly implicates the project, making it unwise and premature to proceed until the new Forest Plan is finished.

Work Plan

  • Upon release, Y2U will address whether the Draft Environmental Assessment (FEA) adequately analyzed the potential environmental impacts of the project and addressed potential alternatives.
  • Y2U will submit comments on the FEA.
  • Y2U will file an Objection if the FEA and ROD does not adequately analyze the potential environmental impacts of the proposed project and potential alternatives.
  • Y2U will continue to monitor the impact of this project on wildlife and habitat.
  • Y2U is considering seeking legal representation to challenge the NEPA process for this “vegetation treatment” or “Aspen restoration” project.


July 9, 2020

Despite the issues we raised in the comments submitted April 9, the Forest Service (FS) inadequately responded to our concerns in its Environmental Assessment for the Mill Park Forest Restoration Project. Y2U therefore has submitted a formal objection on the project EA.

Y2U opposes the Project due to (1) its impacts to potential wilderness areas, (2) the Forest Service’s failure to adhere to the constrictions of the Roadless Rule, and (3) the Forest Service’s decision to advance the Project ahead of its ongoing revision to the Ashley National Forest Management Plan (“Forest Plan”) in a manner that will interfere with the revision process and undermine public input. We object to the Forest Service implementing the Project and ask that the Forest Service not implement the Project until the Forest Plan revision process is complete. We also request that the agency remove any areas of the Project that are in potential wilderness and exclude any roadless areas from the Project or, at a minimum, provide sufficient information to determine whether the Project satisfies an exception to the Roadless Rule.

Expected Outcome

Unknown at this time.