Save Our Canyons has been involved in Mountain Accord since its inception. Throughout this process we’ve fought one helluva fight to protect these mountains (you can read a list of our achievements below).
I hope you’ll agree that what we’ve achieved through the Accord is impressive. Most importantly, I hope you’ll agree that together these agreements will successfully preserve what we all love about the Wasatch Mountains – unparalleled backcountry terrain, healthy wildlife habitat, a functioning watershed, and an opportunity for wilderness experiences just minutes from the city. Here’s an op-ed published recently in the Tribune detailing the benefits of the Accord and signed by Save Our Canyons, The Nature Conservancy, and S.L.C. Public Utilities.
Reaching these agreements wasn’t easy. In many cases we were working to find resolution to conflicts that had been stewing for decades. And while finding resolution through the Accord took years of meetings, tankards of spilled ink, and negotiations more heated than hell’s boiler room, what we’ve achieved here is momentous.
Unfortunately, it’s also not complete.
The Accord produced hard fought resolutions and agreements but it can’t enact them. Implementing the Accord agreements requires creating a governmental body, the Central Wasatch Commission, to make these protections for the Wasatch a reality. This is why the Central Wasatch Commission is so important and why we need you to click here to ask the Salt Lake County Council to support the Central Wasatch Commission.
A functioning Central Wasatch Commission means greater efficiency and collaboration on issues impacting the Wasatch. An example, had the CWC been created UDOT’s recent actions to enact a sprawling canyon wide backcountry ban prior to avalanche control work would have been first heard by the commission with the opportunity for input from the public. It’s likely that a functioning CWC would, in this instance, have resulted in a less expansive plan more amenable to the needs of backcountry users.
Salt Lake City, Cottonwood Heights and Sandy have all voted to join the commission which will also include a representative from Park City and the Utah Department of Transportation. Should the Salt Lake County Council vote against joining, the commission will still be created but Salt Lake County, and the thousands of us who live in the county and love these mountains, won’t have the benefit of representation on the Central Wasatch Commission. Joining the CWC will be a Stakeholder Council to ensure diverse interests are represented in the commission’s decision making.
For more information and fact sheets on the CWC check out the Mountain Accord homepage.
Once you’ve sent your letter of support to the Salt Lake County Council, here, please consider adapting your comments and submitting it as a letter to the editor to the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News. Here are the submission guidelines and addresses (firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com).
Save Our Canyons achievements through the Mountain Accord.
- Eliminating sprawl by consolidating key private lands throughout the Wasatch and transferring these lands into public ownership.
- Finalizing resort boundaries through legislation to create a clear definition of resort land ownership.
- Establishing new protections for 80,000 acres of public lands in the Wasatch with the Central Wasatch Recreation and Conservation Area.
- New wilderness designation for 8,000 acres in the Wasatch, including some of the most critical lands for wildlife habitat.
- Studying and implementing transportation solutions that improve air quality, protect our watershed, allow for backcountry access and decrease reliance on single occupancy vehicle travel.