Wasatch Environmental Update for August 5, 2018
By John Worlock
Four years ago the long, strenuous negotiations to determine the future of the Central Wasatch Range came to a celebratory end when the stake holders signed the agreement called Mountain Accord. The successful end of the negotiations was something of a surprise as the negotiators had had long histories of disagreement over how to make the best use of the marvelous canyons and peaks of the Central Wasatch Range.
This success was followed nearly two years later by the introduction into Congress of the Central Wasatch National Conservation and Recreation Area Act, meant to lock the provisions of that agreement in federal legislation. That bill died in committee, so now, two more years later, we have a new inter-governmental organization, the Central Wasatch Commission, attempting to work with members of congress on a new bill.
That sounds, and was, hopeful…..but Hold On! We seem to be working in reverse, toward Mountain Discord. Some of the voices who have felt underrepresented since Mountain Accord have been working to insert their less than welcome ideas into the new law. And, most importantly, Alta, one of the four Wasatch ski resorts participating in, and agreeing with Mountain Accord, has decided it can’t go along with the land-swap provisions by which it would trade development rights to its Grizzly Gulch property for some public land and other gifts.
This is not entirely unexpected, as Alta was always fond of its Grizzly Gulch property and its ski-lift potential. But it sets the whole agreement on its edge, so the current solution is to remove Alta entirely from the legislation and go ahead with the other three land-swaps, as well as the many good ideas for the preservation of the beauty and the wildness of the Wasatch.
If you wish to participate in the formation of the Central Wasatch National Conservation and Recreation Area Act, just use your browser to put Central Wasatch Commission in the search line. Click on Central Wasatch Commission Board – public notice website. There is a trove of information, including minutes of past meetings of the Commission and the current version of the legislation, as it takes shape.
Gorge yourself, learn all you can, and then become part of this important process.