Wasatch Environmental Update for May 25, 2014
By John Worlock, Member, SOC Board of Directors
“The Central Wasatch Visitor Study”
This summer when you go up into the mountains on the east flank of the Salt Lake Valley, you will begin to see volunteers at the trailheads and parking lots who will want to talk with you. They will want to know why you like to come into the Central Wasatch, how often you visit, and what do you actually do there. For example.
You will be witnessing the launch of the Central Wasatch Visitor Study. It’s an ambitious year-long attempt to gather some missing information about the actual recreational uses of our important canyons, peaks and trails.
For too long, planners for the Forest Service, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County and others have been laboring in nearly total ignorance of the numbers and the behavior of those of us who enjoy those canyons, peaks and trails. We have known that the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest receives more annual visitors than all 5 national parks within the state combined, but we have very little data specifically about non-commercial visitation in the Central Wasatch.
Sooo… Save Our Canyons is now partnering with the US Forest Service and Salt Lake City to undertake the Central Wasatch Visitor Study. It will involve hundreds of volunteers and will last for a full year, in order to account for the strong seasonal variations in recreational styles. The work will be overseen by Professor Steve Burr and student Chase Lamborn from the Institute of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism at Utah State University.
Did we mention volunteers? Yes, we did. We will need LOTS of volunteers, who will spend a few hours each at various locations in the Canyons. To schedule yourself, your family, your community group or your business associates, please go to Save Our Canyons dot org, or better yet write directly to Berlin@saveourcanyons.org.
Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Become part of this important effort! This ambitious effort to assess the year-round recreational impact on the Central Wasatch Canyons and Mountains requires volunteers. How about you?
The information collected will be used to guide decision makers, illuminating, for example, the deliberations of the Mountain Accord process. It will also strengthen Save Our Canyons’ advocacy to preserve the character of the Central Wasatch and to ensure optimal access for all users, all year round.