BLM seeks public input on proposed campsite improvements at Shurtz Canyon trailhead

CEDAR CITY — The Bureau of Land Management has drafted an environmental assessment as part of a proposal for developing campsites at the Shurtz Canyon trailhead.

The Shurtz Canyon trailhead is part of the Iron Hills Trails System and provides hiking, trail running and mountain biking opportunities. The trailhead is located roughly 5 miles south of Cedar City, near the intersection of Old Highway 91 and Tipple Road. Project manager Dave Jacobs told Cedar City News the BLM has seen an increased use of the trailhead.

“There are already people primitively camping there,” he said, referring to dispersed camping on BLM land outside of developed campgrounds.

According to the BLM webpage on camping, the practice is typically legal, “as long as it does not conflict with other authorized uses or in areas posted ‘closed to camping,’ or in some way adversely affects wildlife species or natural resources.”

“We’re continually seeing more and more people pushed out from Bryce and Zion looking for places to camp,” Jacobs said.

He said the current proposal up for consideration has 15 campsites, including sites designed for tents, groups and RVs, which is the first phase of the proposal.

“If someday phase one becomes full on a regular basis, we actually have another 15 sites generally designed,” Jacobs said.

The Shurtz Canyon trailhead, Cedar City, June 29, 2020 | Photo by Kelsey Cooke, St George News / Cedar City News

Jacobs added that based on initial analysis, the environmental impact of the project is minimal.

“The resources are fairly minimal, so there’s no cultural resources we’re going to impact,” he said. “We are going to do some vegetation treatments around it because it is mule deer habitat. The assessment is telling us that there’s very limited impact to the area.”

Additionally, Jacobs said the improved campsites would make it easier to use the trails in the area.

“What it will provide is awesome camping for our trail system,” he said. “I think that will be the real draw … to be able to camp and ride the Iron Hills Trail System.”

The environmental assessment can be viewed online, and the public can submit comments on the proposal through July 17. Comments can be submitted through the BLM’s Eplanning website or via email at [email protected].

According to a press release from the BLM, comments regarding technical or scientific information related to the proposal are the most useful. Comments which contain only opinions or preferences will not receive a formal response but may be considered in the BLM decision-making process. Please reference “Shurtz Canyon” when submitting comments.

Before including an address, phone number, email address or other personally identifiable information in any comments, be aware that the entire comment – including personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. Requests to withhold personal identifying information from public review can be submitted, but the BLM cannot guarantee that it will be able to do so.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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