Save Our Canyon’s Testimony Commission for Stewardship of Public Lands 12/19/18

Testimony 12/19/18 Commission for Stewardship of public lands

Carl Fisher, Executive Director, Save Our Canyons

Thank you, Rep. Noel for reading excerpts my poem. But you missed the most important part.

**We hope that the Grinch will come to his senses, this NCRA legislation is about mending fences!**

The Central Wasatch legislation stewarded by the Central Wasatch Commission is not perfect in any one partners eyes, because it represents a workable compromise and a daring reconfiguration of the status quo that requires shared trust. Entities which I and my organization have called foes in the past, we now consider friend and partner with this legislation. Ski areas, residents, land managers of various jurisdiction, multiple recreation communities, conservation and environmental communities, all who comprise your constituents and our members, for example — they have all compromised to get this collaborative effort to where it is today.

I’m dismayed at the unbalanced and unfair panel that you gave special invitations to today. It stands in stark contrast to the work that the Central Wasatch Commission has done, where every voice is heard, invited to dig deeper into the issues in depth and strive for broad consensus. The parties you have invited to this roast represent the uncompromising interests, unwilling to give, hungry to take. They’ve brought issues to light, which were heard, deliberated and incorporated when feasible. Despite having influence on the legislation, and explaining that legislation cannot deliver all outcomes (even for us), commitments to work toward resolving the issues, these interests continue to oppose.

Traffic and transportation issues in these canyons are important to many, however protection of our land, air and water are important to all, inclusive of the creatures we share these spaces with. The legislation directs adaptive management for these resources, something that will help us respond to rapidly changing challenges, visitation, watershed, wildfire, loss of native species, we are currently experiencing. It also identifies areas which are appropriate for transportation corridors where improvements should take place, and where they should not. These are the purposes of the legislation.

The purposes of the Conservation and Recreation Area are to—
(1) conserve and protect the ecological, natural, scenic, wilderness (within wilderness areas), cultural, historical, geological, and wildlife values within the Conservation and Recreation Area;
(2) protect, enhance, and restore the water quality and watershed resources in the Conservation and Recreation Area;
(3) facilitate a balanced, year-round recreation system with a wide variety of opportunities for residents and visitors; and
(4) facilitate and accommodate improved access to the Conservation and Recreation Area for a growing number of users.

The legislation’s intent and Save Our Canyons goals, are to get the many jurisdictions policies and plans, to aligning their goals for better management of the resources. The legislation helps not hinders, alignments from varying jurisdictions.

As I walked into the Capitol rotunda this morning, I noted a statue emblazoned with the words “Land and Community.” People love and cherish these mountains – some are avid skiers at resorts or in the backcountry, some are residents and others visitors, some go to shoot with a bow others with a lens, some believe it or not don’t go there at all. These places and values are all worthy of protection. Thousands upon thousands of comments to my organization or to organization’s I’ve partnered with have all heard this. This legislation is acknowledged in the Salt Lake County Resource Management Plan. Its unfortunate you consciously choose, continually, not to hear these perspectives, these stories, and ignore these values, embodied by your community.

 

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