Wasatch Environmental Update for January 3, 2016
By John Worlock, Member of the Board of Directors of Save Our Canyons
“Snow? Yes, and more Snow!”
Let’s talk about snow. We have had a very white Christmas, as well as a White New Year’s Eve. Plenty snow. Plenty cold, too. Wintry.
Here are some of the unwelcome consequences. Those of us with driveways and sidewalks to clear are no longer singing “Let it snow…….” Those of us who commute to work hope that there is no repeat of that snowfall on a Monday morning three weeks ago. Those of us who do our skiing and snowshoeing in the backcountry are warned about the extreme danger of avalanches. It’s a pity: all that snow and nowhere to play.
That brings us to the topic of Utah’s commercial snow, and especially the snow in the six resorts in the Central Wasatch. Six resorts there are now, as the Park City and Canyons resorts, with much fanfare, have recently become linked with a gondola. They now boast over seven thousand acres of skiing, and more importantly, four million square feet of developable real estate.
Not satisfied with this grandeur, the Ski Utah leaders are pursuing their dream of One Wasatch, the idea that all of the Central Wasatch resorts should be so firmly interconnected that they could boast even more skiing acres, much of it being the superior snow on the Salt Lake side of the mountains. Here is a quote from a recent press release: “What is left to make One Wasatch a reality is 1. Connect Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons, 2. Connect Big Cottonwood Canyon to Park City, and 3. Drop the rope between Deer Valley and Park City.” End quote.
We, at Save Our Canyons, along with many allies, have always opposed this scheme. First, it’s a bad idea from the point of view of skiers, who will spend extra time riding gondolas or long ski-lifts back and forth just to take a run or two on the other side. Second, it will simply help the developers near Park City sell their condos. Third, the connections will desecrate some of the remaining undeveloped land in the Central Wasatch. Four, the Forest Service official plan calls for no further expansion of ski areas into public land.
Read our thoughts on the One Wasatch interconnectivity at Save Our Canyons dot org.