Environmentalists say Utah road dispute costly

Tuesday , April 24, 2012 - 1:09 PM

Josh Loftin

SALT LAKE CITY-- The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance says thousands of roads Utah officials are trying to claim through a federal lawsuit could threaten wildlife habitat and national parks.

Associate Director Heidi McIntosh says there are 45,000 miles of roads the state is seeking to control that are currently managed by the federal government or private landowners.

McIntosh says many of the roads will also cross archeological sites, national monuments and wilderness areas

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert announced in December the state has filed a notice of intent with the U.S. Interior Department to file the lawsuit over more than 18,000 roads.

The threatened lawsuit is part of a decades-long dispute throughout the western United States. The contested routes can range from graded dirt roads to dry stream beds.

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