Brisk mornings, shorter days, and the smell of fall lingers in the air. The weather might be feeling delightful, but there’s a lot more changing in the Wasatch than the color of the leaves. This is a longer update — so grab a cup of coffee, find our favorite reading spot, and take a deep breath. Here’s what we have on the agenda today:
- We heard back about Alta’s Master Development Plan (MDT)
- Public Comments needed for the Central Wasatch National Conservation & Recreation Area (NCRA)
- Nordic Valley Public Meeting
- No Good, Very Bad General Plan Survey
- Save Our Canyons Newsletter
Alta’s Master Development Plan (MDP)
On Wednesday the 29th we heard back from the United State Forest Service (USFS) about our Objection Letter regarding Alta’s MDP. Here is a quick summary of that response (view full Forest Service Objection Letter response here):
- Wetland impacts now incorporate a requirement that city and county regulations must be followed. Requiring a re-delineation of the wetlands.
- Ensuring that any ancillary infrastructure related to a MT. Baldy lift (trails, buildings, etc) be analyzed by NEPA.
- We are not sure if this authorization allows them to use the tram in the summer, though it does say the authorization was provided only for winter! (Keep an eye out for more information on this)
This is a mixed bag of emotions because on one hand, it is great that the USFS has recognized it erred in authorizing projects that conflict with overlapping jurisdictional ordinances and policies.
However, we at Save Our Canyons disagree that they are right in authorizing a Baldy Tram. While we can expect our peaks to receive more development, the USFS was quick to disregard a desired condition of not turning paradise into a parking lot.
We can expect to see more development at the tops and bottoms of the canyons and since the Town of Alta has no real ridgeline protection ordinances; expect to see more dozers and cranes in Alta.
The future we predicted some decades ago, no end to the infrastructure as we pump more and more people who want more and more amenities (and lattes at 11,000ft) come at the expense of wildness and respite from the deluge of urbanization. There are seemingly no regulations protecting against this future.
After reading all of this we are sure you are asking yourself — what can I do to help or stop this from happening? Use your voice. Write letters to ski areas, write elected officials, send a letter to the newspaper like Dan Barrell did, or help us get the word out by helping us staff some of our events.
It is people in our communities who foisting undesirable changes upon the Wasatch and it is our community who will rise up to stop these things from happening and work doggedly to put policies in place that seek the future we want to see for the Wasatch. We want clean air, water, healthy wildlife habitat and forests, NOT more mountain top development or resort expansion!
Central Wasatch National Conservation & Recreation Area (NCRA)
We are sure you are familiar with the NCRA, but let’s make sure everyone is on the same page before we dive into this section. Since 1972, Save Our Canyons mission has been to protect the wildness and beauty of the Wasatch mountains, canyons and foothills. We do this through a variety of ways, working on land use ordinances, partnering to purchase lands, engaging in land planning processes and responding to proposals confronting the Wasatch. One of the most productive ways to protect lands is to petition Congress to permanently protect these places for the values we the public hold dear.
Our current goal in partnership with Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Sandy City, the State of Utah, and the USFS is to protect 80,000 acres of public land by working with Congress to designate the NCRA. If you would like more information about the NCRA please visit our online story map today.
While we DO support the NRCA overall, we would like to see these values that protect wilderness, ecosystems, our water supply, and our public lands:
- Designating White Pine as a Wilderness Area
- Alta cannot leverage lands INSIDE its resort boundary as part of a land exchange, only lands outside the resort boundary can be part of an exchange as that is where the public benefit lies
- If Grizzly Gulch is not protected, no water (snowmaking or base development) should be given to Alta
- If we can make amends on White Pine, we can continue working on Wilderness Boundary Adjustments to complete the multi-use Bonneville Shoreline Trail.
Nordic Valley Meeting
Nordic Valley operates as a small, niche ski area on 140 acres. Recently, however, the resort’s new owners, Mountain Capital Partners, announced that they will be seeking a massive expansion including a 4.3 mile gondola, 10 new lifts and large scale condo development. All told, the expansion would spill over onto approximately 3,200 skiable acres of Forest Service managed public land. For more information about this expansion please read our BLOG.
On Wednesday, September 5 (TOMORROW) from 7 to 8:30pm at Weber High School there is a public meeting and panel discussion you should attend! It’s very important that community members share their input on this expansion. For more information about this meeting please visit the Nordic Valley Expansion Plan website.
New Canyon General Plan Survey
We have found out through personal experiences and social media that this new Canyon General Plan Survey is set up poorly. HOWEVER, it is still important that the county gets your input on the future of the Wasatch. This survey will take about 40 minutes — so grab your computer, a beverage of some kind, and kill some time giving input about the future of the Wasatch Mountains, canyons, and foothills.
Coming to you Soon
It’s the best time of year — a new Save Our Canyons Newsletter should be arriving in our mailboxes soon. This Fall Newsletter is packed full of information relating to Alta’s resort expansion goals, Brighton Incorporation, White Pine management and future, stewarding trails and keeping the canyon clean, and community involvement.
If you have moved in the last four months or do not want a printed newsletter sent to you, please email firstname.lastname@example.org!
Save Our Canyons is an organization founded on our love for the wild places in the Wasatch and the community they support. Please become a member today by donating by here. If you have any questions or comments please email email@example.com