Save Our Canyons Kids; a campaign to engage youth in conservation By Kelsey Oliver

My name is Kelsey Oliver and I’m a junior at Rowland Hall High School. Throughout my high school career, I’ve become involved in different events, sports, and organizations across the Salt Lake valley, including volunteer work at The Guadalupe School, The American Red Cross, Charity: water, and Youthlinc, a non-profit organization that promotes kids to volunteer in their own community and internationally. However, the skills I learned from each of these organizations are completely different from the impression I’ve experienced with helping Save Our Canyons.

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For the past couple years, the crisis of Skilink leaked in my home, as well as in to the homes of many other Salt Lake locals. Before I knew the details of Skilink and Save Our Canyons, I only heard my parents’ side of the story, the side that explained to me why Skilink was bad: the plan was a threat to the natural environment and it wouldn’t allow for my dad to ski backcountry. As many of you know, when a spoiled Utah native doesn’t get to ski, all hell breaks loose in that household. Not only was I determined to prevent this turmoil, I was curious to find out what Skilink really was and who was behind the making of the red stop-signs that stated “STOP SKILINK” in bold letters. This eagerness ultimately led to my involvement in Save Our Canyons over the past summer and to the creation of S.O.C.K. (Save Our Canyons Kids)

The mission statement of S.O.C.K. declares, “Save Our Canyons Kids is a team of passionate teenagers working along side Save Our Canyons to educate youth in our community about the significance of preserving wilderness, while also participating in outdoor activities that expose the beauty of the Wasatch Mountains. Our group believes that developing an appreciation and understanding of nature is essential to protecting wildlife around us, and this connection to the environment will further prepare youth activists to ultimately become the future stewards of the Wasatch.”

The purpose of S.O.C.K. is not only to engage kids in our outdoor playground the Wasatch Mountains provides us, but also to educate teens on the threats our wilderness faces and how we can better protect the backcountry throughout the valley. Numerous factors such as oil and gas drilling, road building, logging, and any other development will continue to pose a huge risk to the loss of wildlife. As the new generation emerges, it’s crucial for us to remember the importance of keeping our environment rich and unharmed.

S.O.C.K. is a way for kids to stay motivated in protecting wildlife while also absorbing the beauty the Wasatch Mountains have to offer. S.O.C.K. plans to participate in many events around the Salt Lake area, including ski swaps, Farmer’s Markets, concerts, and trail restorations. However, we need more committed, passionate, and motivated teens to make these functions possible! Establishing a core group of kids from around the entire valley is essential for S.O.C.K. to continue making a dent in our community. The youth in Salt Lake has a significant influence on the entire city; all we need to do is take action.

If you would like to join S.O.C.K, are an educator or know of a youth group that would like to become involved please contact

Kelsey Oliver: kk.oliver59@gmail.com

Alex Schmidt: alex@saveourcanyons.org

Also, go to our Facebook page and ask to join! We post all our news on there, so it’s a great way to find out what S.O.C.K. is doing:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/496687583742945/

Wasatch Wilderness Website: http://wasatchwilderness.org/

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