Keep the Pedal From the Metal
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is barring off-road enthusiasts from one of their favorite playgrounds in Utah — but this time, it’s to safeguard their own health, not that of the environment. At Manning Canyon, a recreation area near Salt Lake City, the soil is contaminated with arsenic, lead, mercury, and other heavy metals from a nearby gold mine. Every time a motorist revs the engine, the pollutants are churned up and fill the air. The BLM plans to spend $6.8 million containing and cleaning up the mining tailings that contaminate the site. The project won’t be completed until 2004; in the meantime, Manning Canyon will be closed to the public. The off-roaders and other area residents aren’t complaining: “The mine tailings gave the kids a place to practice their skills. … But nobody knew for years that the stuff is not good for us,” said Brian Hawthorne, director of the Utah Shared Access Alliance.