Wasatch National Monument


Map of Wasatch National Monument (click to enlarge)

Save Our Canyons has worked for over four decades on various local, state and federal levels to advance our mission of protecting the wildness and beauty of the Wasatch Range. Some amazing lands have been designated as Wilderness areas. From the highest reaches of the Lone Peak cirque to the boundary of Mount Olympus nearly butted against the city residents homes.

Additional lands have been proposed that possess wilderness quality and are awaiting a Congressional designation that so far has not been realized. What can be done to jump start the stalled land protection efforts in our state? What other tools do we have at our disposal to realize the dream of leaving a place like the Wasatch better protected and more intact than we found it? National monument designation in the Wasatch Range would aid in protecting our watershed, prevent development in sensitive areas, connect wildlife corridors and bolster an economy already thriving due to its proximity to such a valuable asset. National Monument designation would mean protecting some 170,000 acres reaching from Parley’s Canyon in the North down to the Provo River in the South following the Forest Service boundary East to West – encompassing some of the most threatened and dramatic landscapes in the Central Wasatch Range.

Sign the petition HERE; designate the Wasatch National Monument

Wasatch National Monument slide show presentation:
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Save Our Canyons “Wasatch National Monument” slideshow

What is a National Monument?

A national monument is a public land designation that protects the natural, cultural, and/or historical features of a deserving landscape in perpetuity. A national monument can be established two ways: legislation passed by Congress or proclamation issued by the President (under authority granted by the Antiquities Act of 1906). Click here to learn more about the Antiquities Act.

Read “Protect! Wasatch National Monument Today for Tomorrow” by Carl Fisher

How is a National Monument designation different from Wilderness designation?

Wilderness designation, which requires congressional legislation, provides the highest level of protection for public lands and ensures an area remains unimpaired by human interference. A national monument designation allows for a broader mix of recreation uses, while still providing protection for an area’s cultural, historic and natural resource values.

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Photo Howie Garber

Why support the Wasatch National Monument?

Broad, local support by the people

  • The Wasatch Range is the backbone to Salt Lake City’s identity. Attempts to protect this incredible resource are routinely backed by the local community.
  • 94% of respondents to Envision Utah’s Wasatch Canyons Tomorrow study (2010) support increased protections for the Wasatch Range.

Photo Howie Garber


  • The Salt Lake City Watershed is an essential resource for a growing population. Currently 60% of people in the Salt Lake Valley depend on the Wasatch watershed area for clean, culinary water. (Click here for more on Salt Lake City Watershed)


  • National Monument designation does not add unnecessary or cumbersome access restrictions that would inhibit people from enjoying this stunning landscape.

Maintains vast recreational opportunities

  • A healthy and natural Wasatch is critical for the millions of snow sports, fishing, hiking, cycling and climbing enthusiasts that escape to the range every year, with designation recreational access to these highly prized recreational opportunities will be protected.

Photo Carl Fisher

Protect Our Sense of Place

Preserves the region’s cultural heritage

  • National monument designation would ensure that the Wasatch’s unique history — from the mining boom in the late 1800s to the dawn of the modern ski resort industry — would be permanently preserved for all to appreciate.

Connecting Wild Landscapes

Wilderness is a critical component of the monument proposal

  • Connecting Wilderness areas protects wildlife corridors and furthers the ability for land managers to ensure a healthy, connected and thriving forest.

Economically Beneficial

  • As an explicit endorsement of an area’s incredible natural beauty, monument designation will drive tourism and boost the economy it supports.

Photo Howie Garber

A Gift to Future Generations

  • Protecting the character of our public lands ensures that many generations to come will find peace and fulfillment in the same wild and beautiful Wasatch Range that we enjoy today.

Critical for Nature

  • The Wasatch Range is home to over 250 animal species and 1,100 plants. Many other species that are unique to the region, and monument designation will significantly improve their chances of survival.

Photo Howie Garber

Wasatch National Monument Acreage Breakdown:

Land Management/Ownership Acreage
US Forest Service Lands 155,964.31
BLM Lands 0.02
Private Lands* 13,896.73
State Lands 88.90
Timpanogos Cave NM 253.92
Existing Wilderness 67,747.16
Proposed Wilderness 24,420.80
Wasatch NM total acres 169,950.00

* Private property rights within the National Monument proposal will not be impacted. Access, use and maintenance of private land by land owners will remain intact.


24 responses to “Wasatch National Monument

      • Has this appeared in any of Salt Lake’s newspapers? I just happened to take a look today at the SOC website and it was the first time I’ve heard of this national monument proposal. By and large, I think it’s great–mainly because it will send the “right-wingers” howling–but more importantly if it ever materializes, it would surely keep the ever-hungry developers and ski resorts at bay. I just tried to go mountain biking up near the Pinebrook Home area just east of Summit Park in Summit County this weekend and I disappointingly discovered that you have to be a homeowner to park at any of the trailheads that begin on any of the streets/roads on their mountain. Fortunately, my brother volunteered to drop me off, because he said he felt a little tired and didn’t mind giving up a mountain bike ride, afterwhich he graciously drove around to the bottom (near Gorgoza), and waited only 30 minutes for me to ride down. My hope is that the Cottonwood Canyons, etc. of the proposed Monument never, ever go the way of Summit County.

  1. Fantastic idea – I’ve been fighting for the Wasatch my entire life and this sounds like a great way to protect it!

    Question: How does this approach differ from a national Recreation Area designation like the Sawtooths in ID?

    • Thanks for your support and past advocacy of this amazing range. There are a few differences between the two designations but the most applicable to your question seem to be that NRA’s are to be managed with a priority for recreation rather than preservation. National Monuments are to be managed for historical and scientific interest or significance while continuing to allow existing access and diverse recreation opportunities.

    • David,

      SOC will still be actively pursuing to designation of additional wilderness areas that are currently proposed in the central Wasatch. The purpose of the National Monument proposal is to increase our odds of protection, connect designated/proposed Wilderness area within the boundary and stimulate action from decision makers.

  2. So according to the map the is NM would encompass the AF canyon, Tibble Fork, and Timp area. You say that, “◦National Monument designation does not add unnecessary or cumbersome access restrictions that would inhibit people from enjoying this stunning landscape.” But from what I’ve seen of NM, take Grand Staircase for example, a NM severely restricts motorized travel. You realize that up in the AF canyon area is a network of single track trails for motorcycles as well as bicycles, correct? From what I’ve seen NM will restrict that motorized travel, which I am and may others are against. Is this being taken into account, or are we glossing over that part?

    • Justin,

      Thank you for your comment. We certainly are aware of the motorized use in American Fork Canyon as well as the motorized use in Mineral Fork in Big Cottonwood Canyon. Both areas provide a great opportunity for those interested in that form of recreation. To address your question each National Monument has unique uses and is managed with that in mind. We are working with any and all interested groups to address all sides of the issues facing the Wasatch Mountains. If you have further questions or would like to help us to better understand or address motorized uses in these important areas please feel free to contact me via email or telephone.

  3. This could be a good thing but I’m disappointed that the proposal doesn’t extend further south then Provo Canyon. There’s plenty of places worthy of protection south of the Provo River, including Rock Canyon, Slate Canyon and even Maple Canyon and the area around The Nebo Loop.
    As for access issues, I’m more concerned about curfews being put on trailheads such as those placed by the cities of Draper and Sandy. I hope that National Monument status can end these kinds of access restrictions. Public lands should be available to the public 24/365. There’s a certain peace and beauty that can only be experienced at night. I’m a landscape photographer and I do a lot of my photography at night.
    I also hope that the proposed status can place a limit on swimming bans.

    • I appreciate your concerns for limiting the boundary of the National Monument proposal. Creating a boundary for the NM requires the smallest acreage necessary to protect the area of interest. We worked to gather support for the concept with interested parties, political leaders and the communities adjacent to the proposal. The areas you identify are certainly important and unique and as the NM proposal develops involving more stakeholders the boundaries may need to be changed. Thanks for your interest in our efforts to protect the Wasatch Mountains.

  4. A National Monument is a wonderful start to a lasting protection of these unique mountains. Congress, of course, is catatonic for the duration of this administration, but President Obama could easily see the logic of this protection and declare accordingly. Let’s try to get this done in these two remaining years of good intentions, good ideas, rational leadership.

    • Thank you for your support of the idea for further protection of the Wasatch Mountains. With increasing population, higher demand for the resource and desire from ski resorts/SkiUt to expand development in the Central Wasatch we feel any and all options for expanded protection of the region for all year round users, flora and fauna and protection of the watershed is necessary. As you noted, Congress hasn’t shown any indication of moving on a wilderness expansion in the region and so we hope to work with the Executive office to protect the Wasatch Mountains. Thank you again for your comment and please share our website and the NM campaign far and wide.

  5. If the wasatch became a national monument would entrance stations be put in? Would hiking permits and other permits be required for using the mountains? Could limits on the number of visitors be put in? Is there a guantee that it would be managed by the forest service and not the park service?

  6. I see nothing in this that would do anything more than what is being done already. This is mostly national forest land already. What is the point to make this designation except to restrict either motorized use or hunting opportunities. The singletrack system is mixed use and works well the way it is, I had to move to Heber so I could ride motorcycles on those singletracks since everything in Park city is closed to our kind. Please explain what this will really do to make it better.

    • Mike,

      I appreciate your perspective. There is no desire to restrict hunting or motorized users. We are however interested in ensuring the future of the Wasatch Range is bright with a healthy ecosystem and open recreational access for year round users. We have reached out to many hunters and OHV groups and individuals in hopes to understand their needs, desires and perspectives on how to best preserve this great mountain range. We feel that working with all interested stakeholders to bolster the protective status in the Wasatch Mountains will benefit current and future users as well as the growing population that will continue to depend on the region for clean water, recreational opportunities, economic prosperity and access to wild and natural places. With NM status the managing agency (more than likely the Forest Service) will have increased ability to manage all the uses and visitors on the forest to cultivate a safer and more enjoyable experience for all.

      This campaign is still developing and as we work through the Mountain Accord (www.mountainaccord.com) process we feel it is our job to stand firmly on the desires of our constituents and members that consistently show their desire for no more development with in the canyons and increased protection of environment. SOC will pursue any avenue and implement any available tool that we have to work towards that end. If you have further questions or ideas on how to ensure all user groups are well represented in the discussion please feel free to email me at Alex@saveourcanyons.org.

  7. Perhaps you could interface with the Utah Paragliding and Hang-gliding Association. These areas have traditionally been heavily utilized by paraglider, speed flyers and Basejumpers for over thirty years. National Monument designation would prohibit this use unless exemptions were made. People from all over the world travel here to enjoy this landscape in a no-impact manner while flying.

    • Virgil,

      Thank you for your comment. We are very interested in engaging any and all interested user groups or citizens in our efforts to preserve the Wasatch Range. National Monument status is a great tool that we are pursuing to add further protection to this amazing area as well as an effort to energize decision makers as our wilderness bill has had no action taken on it. If you have a contact for someone with the UT Paragliding and Hang Gliding Association I would be very interested in talking with them and better understanding how that user group operates. My email is Alex@saveourcanyons.org.

  8. It seems that a National Monument designation would help preserve this wonderful, irreplaceable treasure we have in the Wasatch Mountains. You have my whole-hearted support. Also, I would support increased wilderness designation wherever that is feasible. If we don’t protect this land now, it will continue to become incrementally chewed up by private interests. Thanks for all you do.

  9. Is there a petition to sign so you can show to the executive office the support this idea has? I also think that this should extend all the way down to mt. Nebo to prevent any renewed plans for the 7 peaks ski resort, and to put a stop to the destructive cattle ranching along the Nebo loop.

    • Trevor,

      Thank you for your comment. We are working to build support and understand the issues and concerns of other stakeholders concerning a Wasatch National Monument. We will be posting a petition soon. In the mean time please make a comment, if you haven’t already to the Mountain Accord process (www.mountainaccord.com). There is a great opportunity through that process to further protect a lot of public land in the Wasatch. We are very interested in extending the boundaries of our National Monument (or other federal protective management tools) further south down the range. However, it can be difficult to get the local communities and leaders to join the discussion. We will continue to work towards that end.

      Alex Schmidt

  10. I am wondering why you Salt Lake folks are so damn scared of us Utah County people. I guess ya’all think we just fell off the turnip truck and are all packing heat. I am reading the reply above that local communities down south don’t want to join the discussion. Maybe you should invite us. In April when AFVision was thrown upon us, those that like to suck smoke bought off on the big wienie but there are a few of us that could see right through the smoke,. I didn’t even need to go into the meeting at Cedar Hills, I just pulled in the parking lot and knew the Bird was out to take what it wanted. Now that Utah County’s eyes are being opened through Protect and Preserve American Fork Canyon (all volunteers working countless hours) your organization is still behind the big push for what I guess you have all settled for. When this thing goes through I hope you feel great about throwing the red headed step child under the bus. I know Mark has had you join us but I still am having a hard time not understanding why you are settling .
    Karen McCOy

  11. hello, can you help me understand how NM designation may (or may not) restrict more development and ski resort expansion within its boundary? Wilderness designation, for example, has very strict rules well established but it seems to me that NM management is very flexible and “up for discussion”. Seems we could work to get it to be designated and then the management of it could go off on some crazy tangent contrary to the goals of SOC. Also, what is the process from our end to get it declared? I know it is an act of the president, so is it just a case of petitioning him until he does it? Or are there other actions that need taken as well?


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