One of the first rules of backcountry safety is that you don’t go it alone. It’s not just the credo for backcountry safety, it’s also how you protect the backcountry. You don’t go it alone, it requires a community.

Four decades ago a few hikers, climbers, scientists, mothers and fathers realized the only way to protect the mountains they loved was by following this rule to not go alone. So, they formed Save Our Canyons, a community dedicated solely to protecting the wildness and beauty of the Wasatch Mountains.

These people — Gale Dick, Alexis Kelner, and so many others who came together to form Save Our Canyons — knew that while the mountains and canyons of the Wasatch took eons to be created, the political changes and policies that ruin them can happen as quickly as one legislative session. They knew that protecting these mountains would require an equally tireless group, one as committed to preserving the Wasatch as the developers are committed to bulldozing them.

Four decades later, we’re still at it. Still committed and still relentless. Still a passionate group of mothers and fathers, climbers and hikers, mountain bikers and picnickers, skiers and snowboarders — still working together towards permanent land conservation.

Because we follow the first rule of backcountry safety of not going it alone, in 2017 we were able to permanently protect Bonanza Flat, 1,350 acres high in the Wasatch Mountains. Long an object of fantasy for developers, Bonanza is now permanently protected as public open space.

Wilderness, Preservation, and Conservation

Save Our Canyons is the only organization in the state that has as its sole focus the protection of the Central Wasatch Mountains and watershed. Save Our Canyons has used every tool available to protect these mountains — from hefting Pulaski’s on trail-crews, to proposing wilderness designation in congressional committees. No other organization matches our deep knowledge and experience working on issues in the Wasatch Mountains.

The Source of Health for Humans and Wildlife

The Wasatch Range is our source of clean water, window into the wonders of the natural world, and the reason so many people come to Utah year round to play in our backyard — and it’s in danger of being destroyed! The pressures this area sees in visitation alone are unmatched in any other forest in the country. Save Our Canyons would like to see that this extraordinarily unique environment is kept pristine for the sake of wildlife, ecosystem preservation, and the health of the citizens that depend on the one resource that is essential for life in this valley: water.

Protection through Wilderness Designation

Wilderness designation is the best way to protect the integrity of the Central Wasatch. This area receives more annual visits than all five of the National Parks located in Utah and averages about 5.7 million people per year in just the Central Wasatch. The proximity of this landscape to such a large population results in unintended consequences such as: pressures from development, transportation within the canyons, and overuse by recreationists seeking a wilderness experience.