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Council backs dredging cut

Posted: Wednesday, Nov 28th, 2007

PAGE — It is not standard procedure for the City Council to put its two cents in regarding an environmental assessment for Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, at least not as a complete body. However, the council decided to make an exception with the Castle Rock Cut, as it heartily endorsed dredging the cut in a resolution by unanimous vote on Nov. 19.

National Park Service announced earlier this month that it was putting together an environmental assessment on the possibility of deepening the cut by 15 feet. Castle Rock Cut has been impassable since 2003, when the lake dropped below 3,620 feet in elevation. If it comes to pass, the cut would be deepened to 3,600 feet in elevation, allowing boats to pass through the channel when the water level is at 3,605.

Vice Mayor John Cook, a retired NPS regional director, put the item on the agenda for the council to consider.

“I feel that it is very important to the city of Page and to our economy that the Castle Rock Cut be completed,” Cook said. “I feel we need to take a strong stand and go on record so saying.”

He noted that he received some correspondence expressing concern that the environmentalists might be opposed to it. Cook told the council that he thought it was unlikely because the cut had already been worked on twice — once in the 1970s while the lake was still forming and again in 1992 to remove sediment that had built up in the area.

Councilor Lyle Dimbatt pointed out that an accessible cut is a winning deal for both recreational enthusiasts and environmentalists.

“I really hate to go through the channel. It’s rougher than heck. I have a smaller boat, and to get caught up in some of that stuff (like boat wakes) is just nasty,” he said. “The other thing is it allows some of the boaters to better utilize Wahweap Bay for access into Lake Powell.”

The cut has already been impacted by humans, so this would not worsen the problem any more than what already exists, Cook argued when addressing the impact on the environment. Also, boats will use less fuel because they will not be spending an extra hour going around Antelope Point Marina to reach other areas of the lake.

In the resolution, the council directed Mayor William Justice to write a letter to officials from Glen Canyon NRA, expressing its wish to see Castle Rock Cut deepened.

NPS is still accepting public comments on the Castle Rock Cut project through Dec. 4. To submit public comments about the Castle Rock Cut project, log on to parkplanning.nps.gov/glca, or send comments by mail to: Castle Rock Cut EA, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, P.O. Box 1507, Page, AZ 86040.

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