Lawmakers Advance Bills To Create Two New State Parks
Utah lawmakers are considering legislation that would turn two areas on federal lands into new state parks.
The Bureau of Land Management currently oversees Little Sahara Sand Dunes and the National Park Service manages Hole-in-the-Rock trail, located in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
Under two separate bills, state legislators are considering whether or not Utah should take the reins. The state would obtain the land through the Recreation and Public Purposes Act of 1954, which authorizes the sale or lease of federal lands to state and local governments for recreational or public purposes.
Republican Rep. Steve Eliason is the author of the bill to create Little Sahara State Park. He argues that the land would be better managed by Utah State Parks.
“I’ve also heard reports of sewage issues, that there’s not sufficient dump stations, and I’ve seen pictures where the sewage dump is way too long of a line so campers have just used the side of the road to dump their tanks. So I think there are a lot of things that the Division of State Parks would do to dramatically improve this area.”
Fred Hayes is Director of Utah Parks and Recreation. He says the designation wouldn’t only mean better facilities on these lands, but it would also open up the areas for more recreation use.
“Those players have different missions down there than we would. Ours would be more of a visitor-hosting and a recreational emphasis than it is a leftover piece of the Lake Powell experience, if you will, or a scientific leftover that’s specific to the monument. So it would add just another dimension. Plus, it’s a unique Utah story that we think we can tell very well.”