SEVIER COUNTY – On Tuesday, August 16 over 90 commissioners, mayors, congressional staff, state and federal agency representatives, along with other local officials convened in Sevier County for the R6 Regional Council Fourteenth Annual Congressional Briefing.

The R6 Regional Council (formerly known as Six County Association of Governments) hosts this annual event to help those in attendance better understand the complex issues and concerns facing counties relative to public lands.

This year’s Briefing staged at Mt. Terrill Guard Station with Commissioner Gordon Topham, Sevier County and Chair of the R6 welcoming all to Sevier County.

After a continental breakfast and short R6 Executive Board meeting, the group traveled by ATVs via the UM Trail to Black Flat. At this stop, participants learned about the importance of water in the lower valleys and the need to protect water rights. There was also a discussion about grazing and the important role it plays in the forest ecosystem.

From Black Flat the group traversed the Niotche Trail System to Twin Ponds Camp Ground for a networking lunch. Congressman Chris Stewart addressed the group. Lunch was hosted by Southern Utah Fuel Company (SUFCO) and catered by San Rafael Works.

Following lunch, the group utilized the Gooseberry ATV Trail System back to the staging area. Mr. Ken May, General Manager of SUFCO Mine provide remarks at an interpretive stop and expressed the significant economic vitality mining and natural resource extraction brings to the area. He stressed the need to protect and ensure utilization of natural resources on public lands. The group completed their Briefing upon arriving back at Mt. Terrill Guard Station.

An extension of this year’s briefing included a tour of the SUFCO Mine and Quichupah Road on Wednesday, August 17 for congressional members and staff along with staff members of the National Association of Counties (NACO) and The National Association of Development Organization (NADO). This event was sponsored by SUFCO in coordination with the R6. Over 20 participated in this event.

Participants experienced an underground tour of the mine and the newly developed Quichupah Road. From this educational forum those in attendance gained appreciation for the significant role the coal industry plays in providing energy needs for the country. They also learned about the Quichupah Road’s divisive history that lead to its development.

To learn more about the Annual R6 Regional Council Congressional Briefing contact or Russ Cowley at 435-893-0712 or Travis Kyhl at 435-893-0746.