More Development in the Wasatch?

Mountainous Planning District
The newly formed Salt Lake County Mountain Planning District Commission will be meeting monthly to discuss issues facing the Central Wasatch Range.  

The Salt Lake County planning staff, under the leadership of Mayor McAdams and with the help of the Blue Ribbon Commission on FCOZ, is improving elements of the ordinance that have underperformed in protecting the Wasatch Mountains over the past decade.

Tomorrow’s public meeting is important because at the following Febuary meeting the Mountain Planning Commission will be hearing a ski resort proposal attempting to significantly weaken and undermine the enviromental protections of FCOZ.

Save Our Canyons supports a conservation based approach for our irreplaceable Wasatch Mountains. By any measure, the Wasatch offers unparalled access to wild places, opportunities for solitude and extraordinary recreational pursuits, proximity to wildlife and a pristine watershed. Allowing the ski resorts to make the changes to FCOZ they’ve requested – some of which we’ve detailed below – would undermine these extraordinary qualities we all value.

Under current FCOZ:

Development on slopes greater than 30% is prohibited. 

No roads may cross slopes between 30% – 50%

Setbacks from perenial stream corridors, 100′ and 50′ from wetlands

Lawyers for the ski resorts are complaining that zoning ordinances protecting the Wasatch are too stringent and should be weakened to be more like those at other resorts such as Vail or Aspen. To help weaken our local environmental protections the resorts are proposing changes to allow development on slopes between 30% – 40%. They’re also petitioning that FCOZ be watered down allow more roads be allowed on steeper slopes, that stream setbacks be significantly reduced and building setbacks be reduced if not eliminated, and that exemptions be granted for development on ridge lines.

YOU can help to ensure that the environmental protections that make our beloved mountains so unique, beautiful and extraordinary not be undercut in order to make us more like Vail or Aspen.

Mark your calendars for Febuary 4th to come to the defense of FCOZ and the Wasatch! More on the MPD HERE.


Snowbird seeking permits for ski towers and a zip line in American Fork Canyon.

Snowbird is petitioning the Utah County Board of Adjustments to allow ski towers and zip lines in Critical Environmental Zone – 1 (CE-1) areas of Mary Ellen Gulch in American Fork Canyon. Please submit comment via email to let the board know that critical environment areas in American Fork Canyon and the rest of the Wasatch, are no place for this type of development.

“We are taking the initial steps to try and get conditional use permits for ski lifts,” Bob Bonar (Snowbird) said. “We don’t know if it’s going to be a gondola, chair lift or whatever.” Herald Extra “Snowbird announces expansion plans in Mary Ellen Gulch

We are very concerned about the impact of this request, not to mention the County has no requirement to hold a public hearing on these issues of significance.

For more information and history of our work on this issue follow the link below.

“How did we get here; Mountain Accord, Snowbird and Utah County”

“The Real Dirty Bird”


Pleasant Grove Ranger District Visitor Use Study available online

Largely based on SOC’s “Central Wasatch Visitor Study” completed in 2015, the Pleasant Grove Ranger District is taking the final steps towards finalizing their visitor use study. The information gathered will be vital in the future use and planning of these amazing mountains. We’re excited to see this type of effort being taken to address a growing population and future use of these delicate environments.

Click HERE to view the PG Ranger District reports

Click HERE to view the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache “Central Wasatch Visitor Study” reports


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