Wasatch Environmental Update for November 6, 2016
By John Worlock, Member of the Board of Directors of Save Our Canyons
“Mountain Accord Deserves Study and Support”
Save Our Canyons has been deeply involved from the beginning of the process called Mountain Accord.
But wait, it would be more appropriate to say that our Executive Director, Carl Fisher, has been deeply and successfully involved in all of the discussions that led to the eventual agreement, designed to perpetuate the qualities of the Central Wasatch that we know and love.
That agreement has lead to a bill in Congress, setting aside and protecting virtually all of the public land in the Tri-Canyon Watershed and calling it the Central Wasatch National Conservation and Recreation Area. While providing for some land exchanges between ski resorts and the Forest Service, it would put to an end any further ski-area expansion onto public land . It would expand the Lone Peak Wilderness and add a new Wilderness on the north side of Mill Creek, named Grandeur Peak – Mount Aire.
We find it rather exciting to study the map of the proposed National Conservation and Recreation Area. To get it on your screen, go to www.saveourcanyons.org and wait a few seconds for the page called “support the central Wasatch – etcetera – act.” Click on that, then on the green word “MAP.” That will bring up the map.
You will then be able to imagine the discussions that hammered out the compromises leading to land exchanges with the ski resorts. You will see some minor adjustments to wilderness area boundaries to account for completion of the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, and to accommodate avalanche paths in Little Cottonwood Canyon. You will also notice the extensive patchwork of private property, and wonder at the strange boundaries between wilderness and ordinary forest service land at the upper reaches of the canyons. They were set following agonizing compromises when the three existing wilderness were established.
Perhaps it will be illuminating to study the compromises in the current Mountain Accord process. This can be done by going to the website www.mountainaccord.com
We recommend this study, with the map, as antidotes to the shrill rhetoric surrounding the current election and to the possible disappointments in its aftermath.
It will also arm you for the coming fight to push this bill through Congress.