Wasatch Environmental Update; Premature Celebrations


Wasatch Environmental Update for November 8, 2015

by John Worlock, Member Board of Directors, Save Our Canyons

“Premature Celebrations”

We’ve had some environmental celebrations this summer and early fall. But now we’re beginning to think the celebrations were premature. We’ll review the recent history, but first we need to remind ourselves that all victories for conservation and the environment are provisional. Temporary. They are victories only until the next assault. But they are victories nonetheless, and allow us to celebrate while we prepare to defend against the counter-attack.

That’s where we are right now.

In July, we celebrated the signing of quote “The Accord,” the final agreement among the disparate voices working in the process called the Mountain Accord, to outline a stress-free and healthy future for the Central Wasatch Mountains. Federal, State, County and Municipal voices were involved, as were those of ski resorts and environmentalists. That signing suggested that all the important voices were in accord and would work toward to fulfillment of the ambitions of the agreement as stated in “The Accord.”

That was July. More recently, in October, we celebrated the wisdom of the Salt Lake County Council in passing an ordinance setting up a county-wide Mountainous Planning District. First of all, the Mountainous District Planning Commission would be populated by residents from throughout the County, recognizing the importance of the Wasatch Canyons for all of us who count on them for our water and for our recreation. It would also establish the protection of County Ordinances, thus preventing the piece-meal invasion, by incorporation, of nearby municipalities.

  1. That sounds like a done deal, except for an escape clause, set by the legislature, which might just cancel the whole enterprise next legislative session, in February. Let’s be prepared to counter the assault, which is likely to be led by forces that oppose any regulation of private property development.

Return to the Mountain Accord Finale, in July. No one, neither environmentalists nor commercial interests, was entirely satisfied with the compromise that resulted in “the Accord.” And everyone recognized that it was a work in progress. But we celebrated. We, in the environmental community, have learned that any temporary delay is a win. Let’s hold fast, and work to insure that the ideals of Mountain Accord become actuality.

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