Utah officials join up with Jarbidge Shovel Brigade

ELKO - County commissioners from neighboring Utah are joining forces with citizen activists in Elko County critical of federal management of public lands.

Several commissioners from Utah's Garfield and San Juan counties traveled to Elko to describe their counties' involvement with federal lawsuits in a meeting with Elko County commissioners.

Last week, Utah's Lexco mining company president James Lekas donated $1,000 to the Jarbidge Shovel Brigade to aid in its litigation with the federal government over the South Canyon Road near Jarbidge.

The road is within the boundaries of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, but the county maintains the Forest Service has no jurisdiction over the road because it was there before the forest was established in the early 1900s.

Lekas said the gift was to show support for ''public lands access'' and that the South Canyon argument with the federal government is similar to battles being waged back home in Utah.

''This is not an isolated occurrence,'' Lekas said.

''Access is the key,'' he said, calling the politicians involved ''well-meaning, but poorly informed.''

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