This website was started in June 2019 to share information about planning efforts in Mill Creek Canyon in Moab. It will be updated and changed as community meetings happen and there is more information to provide. Thanks for checking in!
WELCOME to the
Over18 stakeholder organizations, represented by over 40 people have met since late 2018 to discuss how to protect Mill Creek.
The group agreed that they would work to “Collaboratively address impacts from increasing recreational use in Mill Creek Canyon by developing a strategy that provides access to a quality experience for canyon visitors, protects the natural and cultural resources of Moab’s backyard and monitors the condition of the canyon.”
In June of 2019 people participated in a community survey.
69% suggested ways to limit use, such as limiting daily access or establishing a fee system
59% gave suggestions for management actions such as better signage, patrols by volunteer stewards, or education about Leave No Trace.
Generally speaking many people expressed concern about use levels increasing further, and while many were supportive of fees there also were community members who expressed that they would stop coming if fees were implemented
The MCCC stakeholders have drafted some options for recommendations regarding management actions and want your input. This website contains those options, and information about how the group came to them. We look forward to hearing more feedback
Mill Creek Teen Summer Work Program 2002/03, Photo from RRR files
Community Input Process & Communication
Mill Creek, and specifically the Powerdam and North Fork Waterfall areas, has seen a dramatic increase in people visiting the area, especially in the last few years. This increase has resulted in damage to natural and cultural resources, impacted nearby neighbors, highlighted public safety hazards, and impacted the watershed. While most of the canyon is BLM managed land, the Canyon and its busiest trailhead are adjacent to the City of Moab, and private property in Grand County
Mill Creek Community Collaborative
City of Moab
Grand County Sheriff Office
Grand County Search and Rescue
Grand County Emergency Medical Services
Grand County Travel Council
Grand County Trails and Active Transportation
Grand Water and Sewer Service District
Grand Conservation District
Sand Flats Recreation Area
Bureau of Land Management
Grand and San Juan Watershed Coordinator
Mill Creek Village HoA
Rim to Rim Restoration
Ride with Respect
Southeast Utah Health Department
Moab Valley Fire Department
MCCC Meeting, Photo by Kara Dohrenwend Rim to Rim Restoration
Over the last two years the Mill Creek Community Collaborative, a group of over 25 people representing 18 organizations including City of Moab, Grand County, BLM, local NGOs and private land owners, as well as interested citizens has held lengthy discussions about how to address issues facing Mill Creek, particularly at the Powerdam area. The purpose of this process is to create a series of recommendations for management actions both in the canyon (BLM managed primarily) and in nearby surrounding areas (City and County areas of mostly private land) to address the increases. The collaboration has been mediated by a facilitator from the National Park Service Rivers Trails and Conservation Assistance program.
The MCCC seeks to: “Collaboratively address impacts from increasing recreational use in Mill Creek Canyon by developing a strategy that provides access to a quality experience for canyon visitors, protects the natural and cultural resources of Moab’s backyard and monitors the condition of the canyon.”
The MCCC also developed management goals to guide discussions about recommendations to manage increases in visitors and use. The goals focus on resource protection, public safety and access and can be found here
2019 Input Survey
In June of 2019 MCCC developed a survey for the community and 297 people filled it out. From the survey it is apparent that people value the riparian habitat, peace and quiet, beauty, and appreciate Mill Creek as a local hangout close to town. While people wish things didn’t have to change, there is a strong understanding that the time has come to make some hard decisions about how to manage use increases. 69% of responses suggested ways to limit use, such as limiting daily access or establishing a fee system (many mentioned a free or reduced price for locals). 59% of responses gave suggestions for management actions such as better signage, patrols by volunteer stewards, or education about Leave No Trace principles
Generally speaking many people expressed concern about use levels increasing further, and while many were supportive of fees (like Sand Flats) being charged to help support management efforts there also were community members who expressed that they would stop coming if fees were implemented
Other Factors Influencing the Watershed
Potato Salad Hill from web page https://www.carvillesautomart.com/jeep-safari-retreat
There are also two major changes planned for land immediately around the current main access point to Mill Creek (Powerdam) and nearby areas. One is the Lionsback Resort, which has broken ground and will include a significant change to the area between Potato Salad Hill and Sand Flats. The other is the Abbey Subdivision, an approved housing subvision with 100 units planned to be built between the Mill Creek Village subdivision and Mill Creek Drive. Both of these developments will not only add a high number of residential neighbors to the current main access point to the canyon, and also increase visitor levels further.
Potato Salad Hill is a challenge feature for off-highway vehicle riders and drivers to test their skills and equipment. It has been enjoyed for over forty years, and was part of the original Hell's Revenge 4WD route that began at Powerdam and then crossed the creek on its climb up to Sand Flats. Nearly thirty years ago the creek crossing was closed, but Potato Salad Hill stayed open for OHV groups, which typically consist of a few vehicles. For a week each spring, it draws more vehicles and hundreds of spectators. In contrast to the remote challenge features along other 4WD routes, Potato Salad Hill has parking for spectators and a graded road that provides relatively easy access for EMS and law enforcement as needed.
Management Options and more community input
In order to address some of the concerns of the public and the impacts occurring in the canyon, four options were generated for discussion. The four options were developed based on the June 2019 survey results and with the 18 organizations within the Mill Creek Community Collaborative. The MCCC is now asking local residents for more input on these options. Go to for more information.
On September 3 a new community input survey has been launched, and can be found here . This survey presents four options as well as a suite of other potential land management actions for rating and comment.
Site Visit Nov 2019, Photo by Betsy Byrne, NPS RTCA
Gathering public input during a time when public meetings are not possible
October & November 2020
Synthesize input & Develop recommendations
Stakeholder Group synthesizes community input and feedback, presents it back to the community and develops draft recommendations for BLM, City of Moab and Grand County
December 2020 or later
Present final recommendations to Land Managers
From here the land managers (BLM, City of Moab and Grand County) will need to engage in their own public processes to make any lasting decisions