ST. GEORGE – A road county officials say has been a “mud bog” has been improved to allow mountain bikers and others access to Gooseberry Mesa and the variety of trails located there.
County road crews are completing work this week on a 2.8-mile section of Big Plains Road, from the intersection with state Route 59 to the turnoff to Gooseberry Mesa.
The road is also designated the Smithsonian Butte Backcountry Byway and connects to Rockville; in the town of Apple Valley, the road is called Main Street.
The small section of road leading to Gooseberry Mesa was the county’s responsibility until Apple Valley annexed the area, however the small town does not have the resources to maintain the road, Deputy Washington County Attorney Eric Clarke said.
The Washington County Commission approved an interlocal agreement with Apple Valley for maintenance of the road at a regular meeting Tuesday.
Big Plains Road has become a muddy mess after rainy weather and takes two to three weeks to dry out, Washington County Road Superintendent Dean Wulffenstein said.
County crews have built the road up and put down road base material, trying to make it a little more user-friendly.
“There’s a lot of people that use that road and it’s been just about impassable … it’s just been a nightmare,” Wulffenstein said.
“It should be a pretty good all-weather road now.”
More than 21,000 visits to the mountain bike trails on Gooseberry Mesa were logged in 2016, Clarke said.
“Rather than a mud bog from the highway out to the Gooseberry Mesa mountain biking area, there will now be a passable road,” Clarke said.
The county is also seeking funds from the state to improve and maintain the rest of the backcountry byway leading to Rockville, Clarke said, but the process is in the early stages.
In other business, the Washington County Commission honored Sheriff Cory Pulsipher and Deputy Darrell Cashin at a regular meeting Tuesday.
“One of the things we do as commissioners, and it’s always quite fun, is we go around and recognize our employees,” Commissioner Zachary Renstrom said. “Every five-year increment, we go, as commissioners, and shake their hand and thank them for the service they perform.”
Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Darrell Cashin was honored for serving the county for 15 years; Sheriff Cory Pulsipher was honored for 30 years of service.
Cashin serves as a liaison between the Washington County Search and Rescue volunteers and the Sheriff’s Office.
Renstrom said he did not know much about law enforcement when he became a county commissioner and so he spent some time with the sheriff’s office.
“It’s amazing how much time these gentlemen put in,” Renstrom said. “How they have to leave their families in the middle of the night sometimes. If there’s an emergency call they get it – they’re on standby basically all the time.”
“I can’t express how much we appreciate it,” he said.
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