Castle Valley Comments

Two seats on the Castle Valley Town Council will become available at the end of this year and an election will be required to fill the vacancies. Castle Valley Town Clerk Jocelyn Buck notified the town council during its regular meeting last week that the four-year terms of Tory Hill and Alice Drogin will expire this year. Buck has given notice that a municipal election will be held Nov. 5 to elect two council members to fill the vacancies.

Registered voters of the municipality who have resided within the Castle Valley Town boundaries at least 12 consecutive months preceding the general election may file a declaration of candidacy statement or a petition may be filed on behalf of a qualified person.

Given a sufficient number of candidates, a primary election will be held Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. The filing period is June 3 through June 7. The declarations or petitions may be filed with the Castle Valley Town Clerk at 2 Castle Valley Drive during office hours, which are Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The clerk can be contacted by phone at 435-259-9828 or email at [email protected]

During the meeting the town council heard from Rebecca Hinchcliff, the Moab Program Care manager with the State Department of Human Services. She explained the System of Care approach to strengthening families with children who are experiencing emotional or behavioral challenges and are at risk of receiving services with Utah Human Services or the courts. She said their goal is to keep children in their homes. She can be contacted at [email protected]

Dr. Ed Weeks of Castle Valley was officially appointed as the town’s representative on the Emergency Services Special Service District. He has been serving in that capacity for several months as one of the board members on the newly formed county EMS special service district.

The town has apparently received a tsunami of water well requests from property owners, according to John Groo, the town’s water agent. He told the council that he found it interesting that he has received more well permit requests during the last month than he received the whole previous year.

A lot of discussion centered on the proposed BLM fire mitigation project for the upper end of Castle Valley. The BLM proposes to create a fuel break for Castle Valley by reducing juniper encroachment at the upper end of the valley on BLM lands. An email from Jason Kirks, BLM Fuels Program Manager, stated that the entire project area would have a mix of tree sizes and an overall fuels reduction of 50 to 70 percent.

Although some of the council members who weren’t aware of the project agreed that the BLM needed to do some fire mitigation, they thought the project needed more moderation and that trees shouldn’t be thinned to such a degree. The BLM will host a meeting and field trip to the proposed area at 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 30.

The council also approved a certificate of land use compliance to repair a non-complying structure on lot 387 and approved the purchase of an automated external defibrillator (AED) with funds from the Emergency Medical Responder budget. The AED will be located at the town hall for use in emergency situations.

A helicopter rescues a downed airplane from Parriott Mesa. Photo courtesy of Craig Childs

Moab residents have to deal with noisy all-terrain vehicles in their neighborhoods, but Castle Valley folks have been bothered by low-flying aircraft in their neighborhood lately. Some would literally like them to “throttle down.”

The buzz around Castle Valley this week is about a couple of what some thought were Piper Super Cub airplanes that were frolicking around Castle Rock, Parriott Mesa and other buttes in the area. Some described them as flying cowboys or bush pilots who like to perform antics in the air and ground at some risk to themselves and others.

Two of these pilots were seen playing around the valley most of the day last Sunday, much to the annoyance of the local residents, but seemingly left the area later in the day. Monday morning a resident at the upper end of the valley heard a low-flying aircraft and went outside to see a helicopter with an airplane dangling at the end of a cable being towed across the valley and over Porcupine Rim. Speculation is that the plane landed on Parriott Mesa and was damaged doing so or couldn’t back up because of the rough terrain on the mesa.

Nobody seems to know much about the incident including sheriff’s office or the BLM, which is apparently investigating the complaints. There were no permits issued by the BLM for filming or other activities, so the issue might never be resolved.