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SUMMIT COUNTY -- A proposal for combat training in the mountains near Echo Canyon is stirring controversy across Northern Utah.
For some of our government customers, that is the look and feel of Afghanistan, kind of those higher areas. So we do plan on doing some very small amount of training of some elite sniper teams.
The company that wants to set up the combat-training area says the customers will be business executives, military personnel and law enforcement. But critics wonder if it will attract the wrong kind of people, and interfere with wildlife migration.
ChamTech Enterprises has already been denied permission in one county. It's trying again in another. Executives promise to be low impact, almost unnoticeable to the closest neighbors a few miles away. But not everyone is comfortable with that.
ChamTech wants a place for combat training where the terrain resembles South Central Asia. So they leased private land in Northern Utah near the Junction of Interstate 80 and Interstate 84.
Anthony Sutera is CEO of ChamTech Enterprises, based at his home in Draper.
"For some of our government customers, that is the look and feel of Afghanistan, kind of those higher areas," he says. "So we do plan on doing some very small amount of training of some elite sniper teams."
Sutera also plans on providing all-terrain vehicle training, navigation and communications. Some courses will be tailored to business executives who travel in foreign lands and face the threat of kidnapping.
"We also offer hand-to-hand combat courses, and also evade-capture kind of techniques," Sutera says.
I'm not against bearing arms, it's just that I don't think it belongs here in this neighborhood.
The proposed combat training area is up a private road, behind locked gates. It's near two interstate highways, about three to five miles from the towns of Echo, Henefer and Coalville.
A deer and elk migration zone runs right through the training area. That's a concern of Henefer Mayor Randy Ovard.
"What I would like to hear is the amount of people that are going to come up, how much of the year they're going to use it, what times of the year they're going to use it," he says. "That would affect the impact on the deer migration."
The proposal has already been shot down once at a different location. Officials in Duchesne County said "no" a few days ago following a lively public hearing there.
Many Henefer residents seem to echo that sentiment.
I'm not against bearing arms, it's just that I don't think it (the training camp) belongs here in this neighborhood," says resident Elizabeth Follette.
Follette worries it might attract unsavory elements, such as anti-government militias.
"There's also people that may be somewhat unstable. How do we screen those people out?" she says.
The company says there will be no bombs or explosions, no aerial operations, no noise audible from places where people live.
"There will be some minor amounts of shooting, maybe several shots per day," Sutera says.
But lots of people are still skeptical. Summit County plans a public hearing in Coalville Wednesday night at 7 p.m.