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Money talks and fishers walk when it comes to private development on state land adjacent to Little Hole, the Green River's world-renowned fishery tucked away in Utah's far northeastern reaches.

Advisers to Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. are urging him not to intercede in what appears to be an imminent - and controversial - decision by the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration. The agency wants to lease 365 acres for construction of a private resort - despite efforts by fly-fishing enthusiasts and wildlife officials to put off the deal.

Paul Dremann, the chairman of the governor's Blue Ribbon Fishery Advisory Council, said he learned this week that SITLA officials had stamped it a "done deal." SITLA officials would not confirm that, but said an announcement could come as early as Monday.

"The whole concept of having a commercial operation by the river is ridiculous," Dremann said. "That's the last thing you want near a world-class fishery."

Fishers fear the development would degrade water quality, impact trout spawning on Gorge Creek, which bisects the parcel, diminish the sporting experience for the general public and damage the Green River's international reputation.

Dremann said he and other fishing enthusiasts are pondering an appeal.

The state Division of Wildlife Resources also opposed the private lease because the land is critical habitat for deer, elk and moose. But SITLA dismissed DWR's counteroffer.

"Our proposal was to buy or trade at fair market value," said DWR Director Jim Karpowitz. "It's disappointing. But they have quite a different mission at SITLA."

The Salt Lake Tribune earlier reported that Spinner Fall, a Green River fly-fishing guide service, in conjunction with Flint Timber, a Georgia-based development company, proposed leasing 365 acres to build a retreat that would include a dining building and as many as 10 cabins.

SITLA Director Kevin Carter would neither confirm nor deny the report, but said at least two proposals were being considered.

The agency manages some 7,500 parcels totaling 3.5 million acres. By state law, SITLA must maximize profits on those lands for the general education fund - without regard to other concerns.

"Our obligation is to manage the lands to best benefit Utah schoolchildren," Carter said.

Although fishing proponents have asked Huntsman to intervene, that seems unlikely, said Gayle McKeachnie, the governor's adviser on rural affairs.

"SITLA was set up to make decisions independent of politics," he said. "It could set a precedent, and the governor shouldn't get into the business of second-guessing SITLA."

Although the agency's charter is said to be outside of politics, SITLA officials asked for the blessing of the Daggett County Commission before entertaining the private lease, according to Commissioner Craig Collett.

"We said we would support it with some restrictions. But now, we're re-looking at it because people are stirred up. We'd like the decision postponed because of the public outcry."

Daggett County commissioners suggested to SITLA that a lease agreement should guarantee that any development "blend in" with its surroundings, would not restrict public access to the river and that the county would not be responsible for road improvements.

That said, Collett believes a development could meet those requirements and would boost the economy in one of Utah's most remote and job-starved areas.

But such a private resort would jeopardize one of Utah's "crown jewels," said Steve Schmidt, owner and operator of Salt Lake City-based Western Rivers Flyfisher.

"It would only benefit a few select people," he said. "This isn't for John Q. Public. This is a situation that sets a very bad precedent. The public is the big loser here."